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Co-Founder and Senior Vice President
Paid Staff Position
Community Legal Services
Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens
The SEED Network | View Membership
Teresa Brice-Heames, co-founder and Senior Vice-President of Housing For Mesa (Mesa, Ariz.)
Housing For Mesa
Teresa Brice-Heames - Vice-President Prior to co-founding Housing For Mesa, Teresa was an attorney with Community Legal Services.She served on the Board of HFM from 1988 to 1990 when she took the first paid staff position at HFM.She served as HFM's Executive Director from 1990-1996.
East Valley Tribune Online
Teresa Brice-Heames, a Hispanic woman known for her activism and strong community ties in Mesa, filed paperwork Monday challenging incumbent Keno Hawker for mayor. Backers said Brice-Heames' background makes her a credible challenger who would bring change to Mesa's historically conservative mayor's office.A former lawyer and a Mesa native, Brice-Heames is especially active in the Hispanic community, which makes up roughly 25 percent of Mesa's population."I think I have to say in talking with a lot of different types of people, not everyone is represented by our current leadership," Brice-Heames said.Brice-Heames, 48, said she will push for affordable housing, higher education for Mesa residents, and opportunities for minorities and residents of older neighborhoods to participate in city government.She said she will also push for a city property tax, which Hawker has opposed. Mesa, the 40th-largest city in the country, is one of a handful of Arizona municipalities without a property tax.The city relies instead on state shared revenue, a sales tax and utility fees to pay for city services.City leaders had to freeze more than 200 positions and cut some city programs to balance the city's current budget."I'm real concerned about Mesa's financial future," Brice-Heames said."I think it's time we talk about a property tax.I know it's a dirty word, but somebody has to say it."Brice-Heames is vice president of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens and vice president of Housing for Mesa, an agency that helps low-income people buy homes.Previously, she was a lawyer with community legal services in Phoenix and Mesa.She said she resigned from the state bar last year, and she will take a six-month leave of absence from Housing for Mesa beginning Oct. 1 to campaign.Hawker, 56, is a business owner who espouses Libertarian views and generally votes along conservative lines.He is a registered Republican who has served 10 years as a council member and is finishing his first four-year term as mayor.Hawker said Monday he respects Brice-Heames.He characterized the race as a classic matchup between Republican and Democrat.But Brice-Heames, who is a registered Independent, said she wouldn't frame it as a race that adheres to party lines.She said many people who support her hold some conservative views.Last week, Brice-Heames called for the formation of a citizens review committee for the police department, which Hawker also opposes.The move came in light of the Aug. 25 fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Hispanic boy by Mesa police.The shooting remains under investigation.Brice-Heames said Hawker's opposition to the citizens review committee was one of the factors that motivated her to run.The chairman of Brice-Heames' political committee is former Vice Mayor Jim Davidson, who said Brice-Heames will bring up issues that haven't been raised in Mesa mayoral elections.Davidson said Brice-Heames made a last-minute decision Friday, and there wasn't time to tell the mayor. Last week, Hawker, Davidson and Brice-Heames attended a two-day low-income housing conference in San Jose, Calif.No one mentioned that Brice-Heames was considering running for mayor, Hawker said.Phil Austin, a lawyer and chairman of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, said he is backing Brice-Heames because she is committed to serving the community."Teresa has one of the sharpest minds and altruistic and community-minded spirits I've ever experienced," said Austin, who heads the law firm Phillip A. Austin.Salmon said hadn't heard of Brice-Heames.
Newszap! City Guide East Mesa
Teresa Brice-Heames and Mayor Keno Hawker, shown with Councilmember Claudia Walters, on their right, participate in a forum sponsored by East Valley Interfaith last week.Both are running for mayor in the March 9 election. Mayor Keno Hawker and his challenger, Teresa Brice-Heames, have been making the campaign rounds throughout Mesa in the weeks leading up to the election.Mayor Hawker is completing his first term as mayor of Mesa.He served previously as a city councilmember from 1986 until 1994 and from 1998 to 2000, and as vice mayor from 1990 until 1992.He has said he enjoys tackling financial issues and serves in various capacities on the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council, the Williams Gateway Airport Authority, Valley Metro Rail and the Regional Public Transportation Authority.Ms. Brice-Heames is a Mesa attorney who was active in the founding of Housing for Mesa, a non-profit grassroots organization that teaches low-income families how to build assets and work toward home ownership.She has been actively involved in several community projects, and was named Mesa's Woman of the year in 1999.Ms. Brice-Heames: She said she supports the use of the card, saying it can be very helpful to individuals in Mesa.l East Valley Interfaith asked the candidates whether they would support examining a program that several other cities have adopted called "Ensure to Insure," requiring that anyone who contracts to do work for the city must provide health insurance benefits for his or her employees.Mayor Hawker: He said he would agree only to study the program.Ms. Brice-Heames: She said she would agree to study it, but was concerned that adoption of such a program could impair her goal of increasing the city's contracts with minority and women-owned businesses.l Do you support an official day labor center as a means of providing a safe location for people to negotiate for available jobs?Mayor Hawker: No. "The United States is a sovereign nation with the right to establish an immigration policy," he said.A day labor center condones people who break the law and come to work here illegally, he said.He wants to work with the U.S. and Mexican governments to establish a safe, orderly process for people to come to the area to work in the available jobs and then return home with their salary to prosper, he said.Ms. Brice-Heames: Yes."What many people don't understand is that 20-40 percent of the day labor are legal residents with some sort of documentation or work permit," she said.Ms. Brice-Heames: "My personal experience with HOAs has been limited, but I think they are well-intentioned tools that can be misused very easily," she said.She said she has seen instances where the groups tend to micromanage and overstep their authority, so she encourages neighbors to lobby for neighborhood organizations over homeowners' associations."The emphasis is getting to know your neighbors and to work with them, instead of imposing rules upon them," she said.l What do you think is the biggest issue facing Mesa this election year?Mayor Hawker: "We have accomplished a vision for the city and developed a land-use masterplan - but now we need to go through and figure out financially how to do it," he said.Ms. Brice-Heames: "There have been budget shortfalls for the past two years in a row," she said.Ms. Brice-Heames: "If Mesa residents are ready for leadership that is proactive, someone who's ready to go out and recruit the kinds of jobs that we want in the community, instead of waiting on the market to provide them, and they want vision that's leadership-driven, not market-driven, then they should vote for me," she said.For more on Mayor Hawker, his campaign and his stance on other issues, visit www.kenohawker.comFor more information on Ms. Brice-Heames, her campaign and her stance on other issues, visit www.tbh4mayor.com
Mayoral candidate Teresa Brice-Heames, vice president of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, will lead the discussion of leadership at Saturday's Mesa Latino Town Hall.