Wes Gullett, Phoenix Mayoral Candidate, Is a Connected Contender

Categories: Election 2011
Thumbnail image for wes gullett.png
Phoenix mayoral candidate Wes Gullett
Phoenix Councilman Claude Mattox has shifted his message of support for CityNorth -- flip flopping in that he voted for it, said at one debate that he wouldn't have voted for it given today's public reaction and later told 12 News that he would vote for it again.

Wes Gullett, one of the contenders in the race for Phoenix mayor, has also left some mixed messages along his campaign trail.

While he goes to great lengths presenting himself as an outsider who will shake up the status quo in Phoenix City Hall, he has a lengthy -- and impressive -- political resume.

He is a founding partner for a very influential lobbying firm, a chief of staff for former Gov. Fife Symington and a top political aide to Arizona Senator John McCain.

He has close ties to Councilman Tom Simplot -- the two grew up together and are like brothers, he has also served on the Planning Commission and FirstStrategic Communication and Public Affairs, his company, has a long list of heavyweight clients.

It's not like the connections make Gullett evil ... but he's not an outsider. He is as connected as they come.

Gullett says that if he's elected, he will repeal the food tax as soon as possible. And yet he also says that he favors putting on the ballot a tax that would support the arts in Phoenix.

He explains that the difference is the City Council approved the food tax, and an art tax would be decided by voters.

Gulllett tells 12 News that he chuckles when people call him a lobbyists because he hasn't lobbied the legislature for 10 years.

But as a partner in one of the largest lobbying in the Arizona, lobbying is how Gullett earns a living. And that pretty much makes him a lobbyist. It's not like he's working in the mail room.

And he readily says, when directly asked, that he recently lobbied at a federal level on behalf of a California Indian tribe seeking to build a casino.

He also explains that his gig as a partner in a lobbying firm won't pose a conflict of interest if he's elected mayor.

"I'm going to be taking a leave of absence from my firm," he tells New Times, adding that his partners at the firm agreed that "they would not be doing work lobbying the City of Phoenix."

Although he will be on leave, he'll still be getting paid by FirstStrategic. He said that one option is that the company would put his share of the money in a blind trust -- essentially earning money without knowing where the money is coming from.

But even that arrangement raises more questions than it answers.

Lobbying firms, such as FirstStrategic, are required to list their clients with the Secretary of State. So if the public knows who the clients are, wouldn't Gullett?

Other candidates aren't so keen on the idea.

"It's not appropriate for the mayor to have an equity partnership in a lobbying firm," says former Councilman Greg Stanton, who is also running for mayor. "The public should be confident that the mayor's only interest is in doing the right thing for the people of our city."

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6 comments
Amsnow
Amsnow

I think the connection to Symington is too strong.  Do we need more of the same gang who supported and worked with Symington running the city?  Simplot was also an advisor to Symington.  Enough is enough of the Symington saga.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

Gullet looks like he popped out of the same hole as all the other slime balls called lobbyists.    Allowing them to exist and influence politicians is evil.    How in the hell does their existence make anything right?    The scumbag politicians that lie to us in order to get elected won't listen to us but they will listen to someone wo can fill their pockets with more liquid assets.    Make lobbying illegal.    It's just one of the reasons why this world is going down the drain, but it's a top contender.    Why should anyone be able to persuade a criminal to swing their vote?    Political influence goes back thousands of years.   It involves billions of dollars in misspent money and untold misery and suffering for billions of people.   When has a lobbyist ever accomplished anything for the people?     Never.    Because the people aren't allowed to hire a lobbyist to influence a politician.    That's called bribery.    But when a corporation hires one for the same thing?    That's legal and everyone just shrugs their shoulders because they know that money talks.    Ban lobbyists and jail any poliician who allows one to influence their vote instead of doing the work and researching the bill themselves.    The system stinks of foul undermining, slimey snakes.    Unfortunately, those who benefit from it are in the position of controlling it.

jonnyboypwns
jonnyboypwns

I understand it is hard for you to grasp, but buisness need to have a say in the goverment. The public has the ability to vote fot a canidate giving them.the oportunity to voice their opinion on issues. As buisness do not have this luxury, they use lobbiyists as to have politicans hear their side of the issue. It id not as if the lobbiyists are simply handing over money to the politicans. It is true lobbiyists can contribute to political campqigns but many politicans wont let them, and they really are not as pervasive throughout the industry as you may think. Much like citizens can donate to politicans which may cause the politicsn to do the more politaclly expedient thing which will gain them more contributions aka.. Relection.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"Gulllett tells 12 News that he chuckles when people call him a lobbyists because he hasn't lobbied the legislature for 10 years."

I'd chuckle too if somebody called me a "lobbyists."

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg

Monica, are you getting paid by Greg Stanton's campaign? Do you have a job offer from Greg if he wins? I mean come on, every story you write quotes him like he is the next coming... unless of course it is about his girlfriend Mindy Shields.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

["But as a partner in one of the largest lobbying in the Arizona...'}

You seem to have missed a word, Ms. Alonzo.

As I posted a month or so ago after having attended a candidate forum, it appears to me Mr. Gullett is more of a planner, than a doer.

I think we need a 'hands on' mayor who isn't afraid to actually get involved.

I am leaning heavily at this time toward Greg Stanton.

I noticed signs proclaiming Jim Waring as being a Republican in a non-partisan election. A really GOOD reason to NOT vote for Jim Waring...

Greg Stanton is likely going to prevail.

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