Dana Marie Kennedy was not planning on running for City Council for another four years, but when there was no one running who represented her values she jumped in early.
“I have always said I would run if there was no one else to step up to the plate,” she said.
Entering at the last minute, and a newcomer to the political arena, Kennedy went head-to-head against incumbent Sal DiCiccio in the District 6 Phoenix City Council election this year. District 6 comprises the Ahwatukee Foothills, Biltmore, Arcadia and north central parts of Phoenix.
She lost the race.
Kennedy has lived in Ahwatukee Foothills since January 2005 and was neither well known nor established when she decided to run.
“Being relatively unknown when I started this race and still getting over 44 percent of the vote is remarkable,” she said.
Kennedy noted that despite losing the election she still plans to remain involved in the district and she is going to keep moving forward. She recently started a community-oriented blog, phoenixdisctrict6.blogspot.com, to help encourage residents of District 6 to stay involved.
What does the future hold?
Although there are no official plans, Kennedy hinted that she would run again in the next election.
“Let’s put it this way,” she said. “I will be doing everything possible to position myself to run again in four years.”
Under the umbrella of “everything possible,” Kennedy mentioned researching successful public officials and getting on the Ahwatukee Foothills Village Planning Committee.
Along with keeping up with the community and possibly planning for re-election, Kennedy is executive director of Emerge Arizona, a political training program for Democratic women in Arizona.
“I like to see women mentoring other women,” she said.
Kennedy has worked with the organization for several years and now feels that with her campaigning experience she will be able to better serve the women who participate in the program.
“It is one thing to teach, it is another thing to do it,” said Kennedy, adding that she loves working for Emerge because she feels there needs to be more female politicians out there.
“I’m already training the next group of women to run for office,” she said. “They’re all issue-based people, extremely qualified women.”
Katie Hobbs, who went through the Emerge program in 2004, helped Kennedy with her election and is now running for the District 15 State House of Representatives. District 15 comprises the Phoenix area south of Vernon Avenue.
Hobbs said she is getting a lot of help from Kennedy and is grateful for her experience and determination in the political arena. She mentioned how inspirational Kennedy was for persevering even though the odds were stacked against her – being unknown and running against a well-liked incumbent.
“I saw how hard she worked,” Hobbs said. “She always pushed forward.”
During the course of her campaign Kennedy knocked on 10,000 doors, trying to get her name and message out.
Kennedy feels very strongly about health care and environmental issues and shared her beliefs during her campaign. She feels major drug companies should be held accountable and that they are driving up drug prices too high. Kennedy also thinks that people need to care more about the environment with things such as recycling more and replacing plastic or paper bags with reusable ones.
Despite losing, Kennedy still feels she made a difference. She was able to get her ideas out there and gave the people of District 6 something new to consider.
“At least I got people thinking, that’s a start.”
Brandi Bell is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.