Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona

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Phil Gordon
Mayor of Phoenix
By Andrew Stevens, Deputy Editor

12 January 2008: An adopted Phoenician, the city's dynamic mayor has made the running on crime and the economy as part of his recent walkover re-election campaign. A former teacher, businessman and city hall aide, Phil Gordon is a registered Democrat in an otherwise Republican-leaning county of a predominantly Republican state. The mayor has been short-listed for the 2008 World Mayor Award.

Born in 1951 in Chicago, Gordon's family moved to Phoenix in the 1960s, where Gordon attended Madison Meadows Elementary and Middle School and the Central High School. He studied education at the University of Arizona and attended law school at Arizona State, graduating cum laude. Gordon makes much of his varied professional background, citing stints as a teacher, business owner and CEO but politically his time as chief of staff to mayoral predecessor Skip Rimsza is probably of most interest.

Following his time in the mayor's office professionally, Gordon, a Democrat, was successful in gaining election to the city of Phoenix council in 1997 and again in 2001. During this time he successfully secured the passage of a local law to make the random discharge of a firearm a felony offence, the so-called Shannon's law, named after a 14 year old Phoenix girl killed by a stray bullet. He also led efforts to tackle reckless and criminal landlords in the city. He was successfully elevated from the council to the office of mayor in 2004, securing 72 per cent of the vote in the non-partisan election the previous autumn.

In the 2007 re-election campaign, Gordon turned to the internet to seek votes, with an impressive bilingual website (a nod to the considerable local Latino community) and a brave but less than impressive foray into teen social networking phenomenon MySpace (Gordon currently has only 80 friends listed). However, as any reader of these sites will quickly become aware, Gordon's winning agenda around crime, education and jobs rank as his stand-out signature policies. In doing so he points to an enviable first term record of securing a new light rail system for the city, two new university campuses and expansion of its convention centre.

Mayor Gordon is married to wife Christa and they have four children.

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