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Get to Know the 2023 Prescott City Council Candidates

Learn which candidates align with your preferences before you vote.
Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.

On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, the 2023 Prescott City Council Candidates and Mayor Phil Goode participated in a candidate forum at the Rowle P. Simmons Adult Center in Prescott.  The forum, moderated by Brad Fain, CEO of Fain Signature Group, and recorded by Talking Glass Media, provided each candidate the opportunity to answer 5 questions that were centered on a current, relevant topic. Each candidate had 2 minutes to answer their question. Below is the 2023 Prescott City Council Candidate Forum in its entirety.

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2023 Prescott City Council Candidates:

Mayor Phil Goode, Incumbent, is running uncontested. Meet Mayor Goode:

One Council Seat for a two-year term. 


Three Council seats for a four-year term.


At the start of the forum, each candidate was provided with the opportunity to introduce themselves and share how long they’ve lived in Prescott.

The questions posed to candidates are as follows:

Candidate Forum Question 1:

Our first set of questions centers on traffic and specifically the proposed Sundog Ranch Road Connector.

Background: 25 years ago, the Prescott East Area Plan was approved by the City of Prescott. The plan had a diverse citizen committee of stakeholders including Yavapai Hills, the Ranch, and open space advocates. Part of the plan set into motion the concept of the Sundog Connector. Over the past 25 years, area General Plans and Development Agreements have supported the concept of the Sundog Connector:

Incumbent Rusing – Do you support the vision and leadership of the last 25 years for the Sundog Connector – why or why not?

Candidate Gambogi – With our Fire and Medical responders also supporting the need for the Sundog Connector, do you support this road and feel this connector will help address health, safety, and emergency concerns?

Candidate DeVries – As a council person, you will be asked to make tough decisions based on what is good for the entire City and community, and not just a vocal minority. Explain what your decision-making process would be regarding the Sundog Connector and if you support it or not.

Mayor Goode – Do you support the vision and leadership of the last 25 years for the Sundog Connector?

Candidate Hamer – Do you feel the Sundog Connector helps address traffic concerns and would you support the road?

Incumbent Cantelme – Do you support the road and Fire and Medical concerns in regard to the Sundog Connector to allow for alternate routes for safety and emergency?

Candidate Fruhwirth – Please tell us your stance in regard to the Sundog Connector.

Candidate Forum Question 2:

Our second question, we would like to hear from each of our candidates on what they feel is the biggest threat to the greater economic development viability that Prescott is running into and why.

Candidate Hamer – Do you feel there is a threat to the City’s economic development viability? If so, what do you think that is?

Candidate Gambogi – Share your thoughts with the voters on the overall health of Prescott’s economic viability and if there are any concerns you see.

Incumbent Rusing – Please tell us your thoughts on what the biggest threat to the economic viability of the City is and why.

Candidate Fruhwirth – Do you feel this City has any threats to the City’s economic development viability?

Incumbent Cantelme – What do you feel is the biggest threat to our economic viability?

Mayor Goode –  If single-family residential development cannot get through the public process and approval – do you feel this to be a threat to our economic development viability?

Candidate DeVries – Please let us know your thoughts on the overall health of economic development for current employers and businesses.

Candidate Forum Question 3:

Our third set of questions centers on Open Space.

Background: Using taxpayer money to buy open space is a continuous topic in our community. With limited public dollars, some argue that the public money should be spent on essential public services such as infrastructure, roads, and Police and Fire. There is another argument that these public dollars should be used for purchasing open space to prevent future development. And then, there is yet a third approach which accepts the purchase of open space with public dollars only if the voters specifically vote on the purchase and approve the acquisition.

Incumbent Cantelme – The City of Prescott recently entered into an agreement to purchase open space, buying a portion of Glassford Hill, along with the County and Prescott Valley to prevent or limit development. Would you support a similar transaction to purchase land around the airport to prevent development?

Candidate DeVries – There is discussion that the City is entertaining purchasing land around the airport to prevent development to which the land is entitled and has the property rights to develop. Would you support such a plan?

Candidate Fruhwirth – With 86% of the State of Arizona being public lands, do you feel the voters should be asked to vote on any future land acquisitions to prevent development?

Mayor Goode – Do you support a plan for the City to purchase substantial parcels of land for open space or to prevent growth? If so, is it appropriate to increase property and/or sales tax for this approach?

Incumbent Rusing – Given Prescott’s proximity to the Prescott National Forest, and an abundance of other public lands and parks, would you spend public dollars to purchase additional open space in the City of Prescott to prevent future growth?

Candidate Gambogi – Please let the public know your position on whether to use public money for purchasing open space or spending on infrastructure, roads, police, and fire.

Candidate Hamer – If the City was entertaining to purchase land around the airport to prevent development to which the land is entitled and has the property rights to develop. Would you support such a plan?

Candidate Forum Question 4:

The City currently operates about a $250 million annual budget. Please share with the voters what in your past makes you the best candidate to ensure this money is spent wisely.

Note: All candidates answered this exact question.

Candidate Forum Question 5:

The City of Prescott is largely here because of the foresight of our area’s ranchers/developers welcoming others to enjoy the beautiful area we live. It now seems those same individuals are being chastised and dehumanized for the same reason that allowed everyone to reside here today.

Candidate DeVries – Do you think it is in the City’s best interest to work with the landowners/developers on thoughtful design or would you rather see the growth that is coming to our area be developed in the County in what is referred to as Wildcat development?

Candidate Hamer – Is it realistic to shut the doors on others wanting to relocate to Prescott for a better life?

Incumbent Rusing – What is the type of relationship you would like to see Council establish with our area’s developers?

Candidate Gambogi – With the animosity that is currently shown towards our developers and our City’s need to obtain affordable housing, do you feel this current attitude toward development will backfire?

Mayor Goode – Now that you have been in office for 2 years, how do you feel your leadership and policies have contributed toward welcoming others to the beautiful area we live?

Candidate Fruhwirth – Do you feel the current attitude from elected officials and the community is healthy toward our developers or do you think the attitude should be changed?

incumbent Cantelme – What is your opinion of the public’s negative views toward our area’s landowners who have the right to develop their property?

The 2023 Prescott Council Candidate Forum was sponsored by Prescott Chamber of Commerce, Yavapai County Contractors Association, and Talking Glass Media.

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