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Tom Simplot won't seek re-election to Phoenix City Council

By Glenn Gullickson - Jan 8, 2013 2:21 pm

Tom Simplot won't seek re-election to Phoenix City Council

Tom Simplot, the first and only openly gay Phoenix city councilman, has announced that he will not seek re-election later this year.

Simplot made the announcement on Jan. 8. He represents District 4 in central Phoenix, which includes the city's gay neighborhoods.

Because of term limits, Simplot was eligible for one more term. Last year he had said that he would seek re-election and a campaign website was already active.

But after 10 years on the council, Simplot said he decided it was time to recharge, refocus and look for the next opportunity.

Simplot was elected to the City Council in 2003 in a special election to replace Phil Gordon after Gordon was elected mayor. He was re-elected to four-year terms in 2005 and 2009.

In 2009, he was elected by the nine-member council to serve as vice mayor.

Simplot is known for spearheading passage of the city's domestic partners registry in 2008 and he and his then-partner were the first to register.

He was named Echo Magazine's Man of the Year in 2008 and inducted into the publication's Hall of Fame the same year.

Simplot worked as an adviser to former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington and as chief of staff to former Maricopa County Supervisor Betsey Bayless.

Simplot was first elected to the Phoenix City Council as a Republican, but switched parties and became a Democrat in 2007.

On the council, Simplot serves as chair of the Parks, Arts, Families and Seniors subcommittee, and is a member of the Finance Efficiency, Innovation and Sustainability subcommittee and the Neighborhoods, Planning and Development, Housing and Homeless subcommittee.

He has served as chair of the board of Valley Metro Light Rail, president of the Maricopa County Board of Health and the Maricopa County Industrial Development Authority, chair of the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission and a member of the Phoenix Housing Commission.

In addition to his position on the city council, Simplot is president and CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association and is an attorney and licensed real estate agent.

He also serves on the boards the Phoenix Symphony Association, the social service agency Southwest Human Development and the Community Advisory Board for Wells Fargo Bank.

The election for four Phoenix City Council seats is Aug. 27. If necessary a run-off election will be Nov. 5.