There’s close to a year left before the Tempe City Council will next elect new members, but one Tempe resident is already campaigning.
Matthew Papke, a former Marine, is dissatisfied with the current City Council’s decisions and is focused on fixing the broken system, he said.
“I’m really not happy with what’s going on,” Papke said. “They would spend $6 million in 30 minutes and talk about it for a minute.”
Out of eight Arizona cities, Tempe has the highest property tax rate, second highest sales tax rate, second highest operating budget and has increased its outstanding debt by 277 percent in the last 10 years, according to Papke’s campaign.
“These guys are doing what the federal government is doing,” Papke said. “They’re spending more than they’re making.”
Papke urged ASU students to vote in the coming city election.
Carlos Alfaro, president of ASU College Republicans, said Papke was a good choice for the city.
“He understands the idea of liberty and individual freedom very well, and I think he’d protect our civil liberties,” he said.
Papke emphasized the need for the younger population to become active in their city elections, or else the same people will continue to create laws.
“There’s no election that really impacts your life nearly as directly as a city election,” Papke said.
He’ll face incumbent council members with a history of debt and overspending, Papke said.
“You can’t spend more than you make,” he said. “Keep doing it, and then just charge people for your mistakes.”
Papke said he’s focusing his campaign on local problems instead of popular controversial issues.
“There is so much division over issues like gay rights and abortion,” he said. “It just divides people so much.”
Local laws are getting passed without notice, because the public isn’t aware of what’s going on, Papke said.
According to his website, Papke has proposed solutions to economic sustainability, property rights, and food freedom.
He advocates against food taxes and is working to educate families on the risks and benefits of genetically modified organisms and food additives, according to his website.
Papke is also working to develop methods to reduce property taxes that result in a loss of quality services for Tempe residents, according to his website.
Papke, a strong supporter of civil disobedience, encourages the public to stand up against the government when it is not satisfying their needs.
“The disrespect for the people and our lack of involvement in this process has gotten us to this point,” Papke said. “You got to start waking up.”
The campaign has already received more than its year-end goal and is continuing to gain support, campaign manager Jessica Merrow said.
“Tempe needs someone like Matthew who can take a serious look at the budget and trim the fat without being reckless,” Merrow said.
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Editor’s note: Carlos Alfaro is a former State Press columnist. He no longer works for the paper and was not involved in the reporting of this article.