By now I've met a few volunteers on this race for Phoenix mayor and it's always great to know what the average person thinks of a candidate. But when I heard Mark and Terry Gielbelhaus had known and been friends with Wes Gullett and his wife for years I thought, "OK, here is someone who knows him."
Of course the way they first met might show a little bias on Mark's part. Mark met Gullett while he was a lobbyist. Mark is part of an association of coalitions that at the time was attempting to get the governor to sign a new law that would create a statewide plumbing code.
Mark is a plumbing contractor and owns his own company. In the '90s Gullett was able to get the governor, Fife Symington, to agree to sign a law that would create a statewide plumbing code. Since then the law has sunsetted, but Mark says it was a success at the time and the beginning of a friendship between the two men.
When he heard Gullett was running for mayor he called him up and asked how he and his wife could help.
"When I first heard that Wes was running I was excited because I know the man," Mark said. "I know his integrity and his morals and his point of view on politics. I was very excited."
Mark says he's a supporter of City Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Gullett's ideas seem to support DiCiccio's as well. He supported him at first as a friend but after going to debates and seeing Gullett interact with the public he feels like Gullett has the most solid plan for action.
"Wes' platform that he's running on is exactly in line with my opinions of what should happen with the city," Mark said. "The city has been poorly mismanaged by the City Council and the city manager and the employees and mayor for years and years. There's a lot that has gone on throughout the years and three of the candidates are part of the problem. They're the status quo."
Those three, according to Mark, would be Peggy Neely, Greg Stanton and Claude Mattox. But I've heard a lot of people say Gullett is part of the problem as well. Neely has been accusing Gullett of being "union supported" because of his work with a major union in the past.
Mark says Gullett has a valid explanation for his short union involvement and he hasn't been a lobbyist for years. Mark and Terry say Gullett's experience in politics, without ever being a politician, makes him a more realistic candidate.
"He has been working in politics or with politicians enough to know how it works and how to get it done," Terry said. "If you're totally inexperienced you won't be able to get it done. Whenever I listen to him talk he's the only one who has a plan. He's the only one who says how, instead of just giving stalk answers. He has a way to go in there and get it done."
The Giebelhaus family is supporting the campaign in a few different ways. Mostly they're passing out signs, stickers and brochures to anyone interested.
Mark has sent out emails to his friends, asking them to vote for Gullett. They've also hosted a meet-and-greet inside their home with Gullett, which they say was a great experience.
"When he came to our house he had a bunch of volunteers with him," Mark said. "He was very personable with them and they seem to be very dedicated to him, too. He stood in our kitchen for an hour and a half just answered questions. He had to go to another function and the people wouldn't let him go. They kept asking questions and he kept answering. He loved it."
Mark and Terry say in their experience all it takes for someone to support Gullett is to take a look at his seven-point plan. His solid ideas are the reason he's been able to get bipartisan support from Councilman Tom Simplot.
For them they're supporting the right man for the job, who also happens to be a good friend.
"Wes has always demonstrated to me for as long as I've known him that he has incredible integrity," Mark said. "That's why I can ask him anything. He's got the answers and the solution I believe needs to be done with the city."
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