Have you ever wondered what it is like being mayor? In the Young Reporters October Zoom Meeting, we got to speak with Valeria Molina, the current Mayor of Guadalupe! She had lots of interesting things to share.
The incorporated Town of Guadalupe is located between Tempe and Phoenix, near South Mountain, and is about 0.66 square miles with about 6,000 residents. Guadalupe was founded by the Yaqui Indians around the turn of the century.
Molina has served three terms and is about to start her fourth term. She has been a public servant for six years. As well as being mayor, Molina also works at a high school district and runs a special program where she gets to teach Native American students throughout the year. Molina has been running the program for 18 years.
Molina was born and raised in the Town of Guadalupe, moved away for 12 years when she started her family, then moved back to Guadalupe. Molina is very involved in her community and she has a specific love for STEM education.
The town was incorporated in 1975 because residents were afraid of being annexed by other cities and they wanted to make sure to preserve their culture by making their city official and legally recognized in the state. There are many cultural ceremonies practiced throughout the year at the Church Plaza.
The community of Guadalupe is working on park hours policy. “Right now, if you go to any [other] park, you will see hours posted...our community doesn’t have park hours we’re looking at changing park policy,” says Molina. Molina also works with lots of different partners including the Arizona Coyotes, the fire department, the police department and the Diamondbacks.
The process of becoming mayor in Guadalupe includes going out and collecting signatures, getting a petition, and declaring that you want to be mayor or a council member. “You go out into the community, you knock on some doors, and ask them if they would sign your petition,” says Molina. Once the signatures get verified you are able to go on the ballot. After sending in all of the details of her campaign, Molina had to go door-knocking again and tell people what she hoped to accomplish if elected. It sounds like a lot of hard work to connect with the people she cares about in the community.
One of Molina’s greatest accomplishments was rebuilding a road. The road had not been done for over 40 years and was full of bumps, potholes and cracks. Guadalupe got a grant for $6 million to help rebuild the road.
Molina says she hopes to fortify the budget of the town. “I’d like to make the budget stronger, here in Guadalupe,” she says. Molina hopes that the community will remain for a long time to come and hopes to accomplish this as mayor.