With the approaching Nov. 3 election for the District 6 seat on the Phoenix City Council, Dana Marie Kennedy is preparing to become an advocate for the community, just like she’s been as a nonprofit leader and organizer for the past 20 years.
Kennedy has been an Ahwatukee Foothills resident since 2005 and got involved with the community right away after being elected to her homeowner’s association.
This was Kennedy’s first glimpse of serving for local government after decades of advocating for families, retirees and women. This position gave her the authority to affect change in the community with the insight of an outsider looking in.
“You realize how important it is for all branches of government to work together,” she said. “When they all don’t work together, it can create some problems.”
Once she got a taste of working directly for the community, Kennedy wanted to continue helping Ahwatukee progress with a different approach that she said the area needs.
“It’s time for elected officials to be public servants, that’s what they were always intended to be,” she said. “If I am elected, then this is going to be my job. This is what I’m going to do.”
As a trained social worker, Kennedy said that she has been prepared to be an ethical leader and has been educated in a field that will make her a great asset to local government.
“It is the perfect background and perfect education to be an elected official, because you’re trained to look at the whole problem and find solutions,” she said.
Kennedy’s experience with nonprofits and working closely with members of the community has also influenced the focus of her campaign.
“I think it’s really important the people feel they are part of the process,” she said. “We have an open and transparent campaign.”
Much of the success of the campaign that Kennedy is running can be credited to her network of volunteers and supporters that she has established since she entered the race in June.
“I’m a real consensus builder and I’m just known to bring people together from different backgrounds to find a solution,” she said. “I think by electing me, I will restore faith into the government.”
As a single-woman without any children of her own, Kennedy said that there is nothing wrong with her home-life and that it allows her to focus even more on doing her job and being a strong advocate for the district.
“I’m motivated by being happy and satisfied by making the community a better place,” she said.
Kennedy has several ideas for how to implement her plans to better Ahwatukee Foothills and one of her main goals is to focus on improving local businesses, which was one of the main reasons she got involved with local government in the first place.
With the current state of the economy, Kennedy said she wants to eliminate red tape in order to help businesses through this tough time and she will make that a key priority in the budget.
“We know that the budget is going to be the No. 1 issue and I want to communicate that sooner rather than later,” she said.
Even after heavily involving herself in this race for the title of councilwoman for District 6, Kennedy said she still considers herself as a voice for the community and always will.
“I hate to call myself a politician, but I guess that’s what I am now,” she said. “I see myself as an advocate and even if elected I will consider myself an advocate. We aren’t afraid to speak up and challenge the status quo.”
Kennedy said that some of her passion for Ahwatukee and positive attitude stems from her love of running South Mountain and positive attitude to overcome any obstacle that comes her way.
“Running for office is like running a marathon,” she said. “You really need the endurance, the training and the mindset to make it to the finish line. Sometimes I hit a wall, but I just push though it.
You remember that you’re doing it because you really want to make a difference and restore faith in our government.”
Stephanie Snyder is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.