A new year brings fresh inspiration and opportunities to do more and do better – whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, or as members of a community like ours.
For me, I am entering this year with renewed energy and ideas to help the city I have lived in and loved since 2003.
The first priority for all of us in 2021, of course, is to ensure that community members stay healthy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety is paramount for the physical, emotional and economic health of our city.
Each of us as residents must take personal responsibility and do what needs to be done to avoid contracting the virus, without letting our guards down.
Tempe was proudly among the first cities in Arizona to enact a mask mandate and we have been diligent about enforcement of that requirement and education about the virus.
While we are far from a return to normalcy, we can see it on the horizon. Now we must stay the course and be vaccinated when the time comes. Tempe maintains pandemic-related resources and information at tempe.gov/coronavirus --- go there to sign up for COVID-19 emails or get the latest information about vaccines and staying safe.
This year also will include chances to make progress for our residents in vitally important areas like job creation, education, expanding human services, improving our infrastructure, and public safety reforms.
Last year, thanks to the research and work of a City Council working group including Councilmember Robin Arredondo-Savage and myself, the council agreed to establish standing committees to delve deeply into defined areas.
Mayor Corey Woods is establishing three City Council Committees and they will soon begin their work. The meetings will happen virtually, allowing community members the ability to participate from the comfort of home or office. I believe this model will provide greater transparency and opportunities for greater resident input in our work and process.
Mayor Woods has assigned Councilmember Arredondo-Savage and I to the new Workforce Readiness and Economic Vitality Committee. We will be tackling all things education and economic development and I could not be more eager to jump in and get going.
The city’s Tempe PRE free preschool program is one I have been closely involved with, so it will be gratifying to continue to shepherd its development and success over time through the work of our committee.
In addition, we will be working alongside city staff and community partners to ensure the health of businesses of all sizes in Tempe. The ravages of the pandemic on the national economy are well known, and it has also significantly impacted cities and towns everywhere.
Tempe small businesses have fought to stay open and the city is working hard to showcase them and provide them information about assistance opportunities. Visit tempe.gov/coronavirus and click on “For Business” to see more.
In early 2021, we expect to conclude the work of the city’s Public Safety Advisory Task Force with the production of a proposed strategic plan with common-sense reforms. I have been honored to participate with this incredible group as one of the Councilmembers appointed by Mayor Woods.
I understand the time and dedication it takes to serve as a community volunteer, and the passion, candor and insights of these community members who serve on the task force is going to make a real difference in Tempe.
Our discussions and examinations of policing for today and beyond has been done with residents and subject matter experts working alongside Tempe Police officers. No one is left out of the conversation and everyone is being heard.
We will conduct public meetings to receive input about the task force’s proposed strategic plan before it is finalized and then sent to City Manager Andrew Ching for implementation. Please visit tempe.gov/PublicSafetyAdvisoryTaskForce for task force meeting materials and videos.
I invite you to contact me anytime with input or questions at email@example.com or by calling 480-350-8798. Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter, and check out my Council webpage at tempe.gov/keating.
Editor’s note: Mr. Keating serves as vice mayor of Tempe