On March 14, 2023, HISTORY was made in the City of Phoenix during Women’s HERstory Month! Kesha Hodge Washington became the first African American City Councilwoman in Phoenix after receiving 56 percent of the vote in the District 8 Runoff Election.
As of March 17, the Phoenix City Council 2023 Runoff Election final results were still considered unofficial, but Washington tallied 9,411 votes and her opponent, Carlos Garcia, collected 7,682.
Kesha Hodge Washington (center) is flanked by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and U.S. Congressman Greg Stanton. Image by Vicki P. Love Photography.
Washington’s four-year term for District 8 begins on April 17. Washington is a former assistant attorney general and extremely active in the community as a member of several organizations including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Washington’s key platforms include facilitating more affordable housing for residents, finding solutions for the homeless issues in District 8, fostering economic development so residents can have higher quality jobs near their homes, and reducing crime.
“The voters spoke loudly – they want a work horse, not a show horse,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.
For the Black community, Washington’s victory is a major point of pride considering that African Americans historically held the District 8 City Council seat until 2013 when Gallego was elected to represent the District which covers south Phoenix and the downtown area.
It was slightly ironic that an endorsement of Washington for the District 8 office in 2022 by Gallego, who is now the mayor of Phoenix, was a major turning point in Washington’s campaign. Washington stated during her victory speech at her election night party that she was extremely grateful for the mayor’s willingness to endorse a first-time candidate over the incumbent Garcia.
Congratulations are also in order for Kevin Robinson, who was elected on Tuesday to represent District 6 on the Phoenix City Council. District 6 includes Ahwatukee, Arcadia, Biltmore and a portion of north-central Phoenix.
Robinson served as a police officer for 36 years and is a lecturer at Arizona State University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
This will be the first time in Phoenix’s history that two members of the City Council are Black. This is a special achievement considering that the City of Chandler (OD Harris and Christine Ellis) also has two Black councilmembers. Furthermore, the City of Tempe has a Black mayor, Corey Woods, and a Black councilwoman in Berdetta Hodge!