As Phoenix residents went to the polls last week to vote in the mayoral primary election, they were faced with an array of candidates to choose from - each with their own individual message. In the end, voters made a strong statement with their ballots - choosing the strong leadership and optimistic vision that Greg Stanton brings to the table.

Wes Gullett finished second in the primary, but will call the results a "victory" because his campaign split votes with other Republican candidates, while Stanton had the advantage of being the only Democrat.

Unfortunately for Gullett and his team, they are ignoring the power of Stanton's effective grassroots movement.

Stanton did not earn more than 37 percent of the vote on Election Day because he was a Democrat; he earned that support as an independent voice for Phoenix - with a clear and optimistic vision to strengthen Phoenix's economy, invest in education, and bring transparency and honesty back to City Hall. Stanton earned the support of Republicans, Democrats and Independents throughout our city, building a dominant bipartisan coalition.

Stanton's victory is not about party identification, it is about the ideas he has for Phoenix - and the leadership that he will bring as mayor. Regardless of the path this campaign takes, Stanton will continue to discuss the optimistic vision he has for Phoenix: A robust, diverse economy, excellent local schools, and a government that works for the citizens of Phoenix.

When the citizens of Phoenix are struggling, it is more important than ever that our mayor understands their challenges, and has a plan to address them.

Stanton has that plan, and a Stanton administration will put Phoenix on the right track to compete as a premier 21st century city - allowing us to reach our full potential.

The future of Phoenix rests in our hands. While turnout was higher than normal for the mayoral primary, it still failed to reach 30 percent.

This is a call to action to all Phoenix residents: Don't let lobbyists and anonymous fundraising groups buy this election.

Stand up and make your voice heard. Knock on doors, make phone calls, encourage your friends and neighbors to get out to vote, and make sure you vote!

The power of your voice is stronger than the special interests, but you have to use it.

A vote for Greg Stanton is a vote for strong leadership and an optimistic, independent vision for Phoenix - because this is the best city in America.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Chase Williams is a recent political science graduate of Arizona State University, precinct captain for the Foothills precinct and chair of the Maricopa County Working Young Democrats.

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