Mason Gates, former ASU finance undergraduate student, is campaigning for a Scottsdale City Council seat in the upcoming August 2024 primary.
The former Phi Gamma Delta (commonly known as Fiji) member filed a Statement of Interest for Scottsdale City Council, and is currently collecting signatures in order to appear on November's general election ballot through the August primary. However, the goal to be a politician does not come out of the blue.
Gates says that his journey into the political world started back in middle school, and while he has had different career paths in real estate and in the military, politics has remained the main focus.
"I've been into politics since I was in about sixth grade," Gates said. "I've been knocking doors for all sorts of different candidates at the local, state and national level, making phone calls left and right while interning for different political organizations, I was very interested in it all the way through high school as well."
Gates, originally from Kansas City, Mo., lived in Tempe for two years while he studied finance at the University. He then moved to Scottsdale, where he has been working as a real estate agent for a year and a half. He said he learned to love and appreciate the city of Scottsdale since he moved there.
"I've been living (in Scottsdale) for seven months and, again, as somebody who's not from here, you really learn to appreciate a city," Gates said.
Gates said that seeing the rising home prices and cost of living was "extremely concerning" while living in Scottsdale led him to eventually file paperwork to run for office. He said a significant portion of homes in Scottsdale are for rent, and are owned by corporations, not individuals.
"I just don't think it's right," Gates said. "I think one of the longest standing American dreams in this country is owning your own home."
In order to carry out his campaigning efforts, Gates has enlisted help from his friends from Fiji. He said they have personally gone out and gathered support for his candidacy, but Gates said he has been "doing most of the heavy lifting."
"I'm working anywhere from 15 to 16 hours a day, on top of the two other jobs that I have, to make sure that this campaign is run as effectively as possible," Gates said. "I personally have gathered over 100 signatures in the last week alone by myself."
One of the campaign's objectives is to highlight the fact that it is a grassroots campaign even that means long work hours for Gates. However, this will not stop him from running for office in the city that he said he is passionate about.
"The fact that I'm even willing to throw my hat in the ring inside of a year of living there, I think shows well for how much I appreciate the city and how badly I want to preserve it," Gates said. "It's because I care about it that much, I'm very passionate about Arizona as a whole and Scottsdale specifically."
Scottsdale’s City Council primaries will start on August 6, 2024 and the general election will be on Nov. 5, 2024.
Edited by Damian Goacher, Shane Brennan and Grace Copperthite.