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Tempe City Council continues to be older than the average city resident

The Council doesn't reflect their primarily young population with the average resident age being about 30 years old

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Tempe City Hall is pictured on Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

Despite a young city and campus population, the Tempe City Council lacks representation for the younger demographic.

The city's population data shows the median age of residents is about 30 years old. The youngest city council member, Randy Keating, is still ten years older than the average city resident. Keating was elected to the city council in 2016 at 33 years old. 

However, most of the seven-member council represents Tempe’s older generations with Mayor Corey Woods at 44-years-old and Councilmember Doreen Garlid at 59 years old. 

Students like Julia Cady, a freshman studying family and human development believe that this should change. 

"Nothing large is ever going to happen unless it happens on the smaller, local level first," Cady said. 

In the most recent city council election in March 2022, Tempe had about a 21% voter turnout rate.  During that election, younger voters had the chance to elect Casey Clowes, now 31 years old, to represent their demographic. 

“I am the only progressive candidate … we need a strong negotiator to ensure developments in Tempe meet our goals,” Clowes said in an Instagram post last January.  However, her campaign lost, only gaining about 12.6% of votes. 

READ MORE: Casey Clowes running for Tempe City Council

"Young people in the city council is vital to young citizens having a voice," Cady said. "They can have a small hand in larger, positive change." 

Tempe City Council is one of the places where younger people are underrepresented in Arizona and an example of a larger problem that Arizona House Concurrent Resolution 2004 is seeking to solve. In order to make young adults more active in the legislature, HCR 2004 seeks to lower the required age to run for elected legislative office from 25 years old to 18 years old.

Some students believe that young adults should be more involved in political issues and elections, even to the level of just being informed.

“It’s important for students to understand and educate themselves … before they go to the ballot box,” said Nathan Hafner, a junior studying sports journalism.

READ MORE: Elected Tempe City Council Members 

The Tempe mayor and council members serve four year terms. Tempe's next election will be in May and will have three ballot propositions. The next city council election is not happening until March 2024 and will include races for the office of mayor and three council seats. 

“These (elections) are things that will have an impact on their lives and their future,” Hafner said. “It’s important to understand where our political climate is and how we can improve it.”

Edited by Shane Brennan, Jasmine Kabiri and Grace Copperthite.

Reach the reporter at and follow @alysa_horton on Twitter.

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