Anything to help an important cause. Kate Gallego has always been devoted to social justice, caring for the environment and helping her fellow citizens. So, when shortly after 9/11, a friend invited Kate to an event to raise money for the Red Cross and first responders, she made sure to be there. The gimmick for the event was a date auction – and Kate put in a bid on a guy who a fellow sophomore at Harvard had told her was “a good guy.” Before she knew it, the bids were out of her range. But the auctioneer looked at her and said “Kate, you bid early. Wouldn’t you like to put in a final bid?” She admitted it was tempting, but she just didn’t have enough money. The date candidate smiled and quipped, “She’s cute. I’ll put in the rest myself!”
That was the beginning of Kate Widland’s relationship with Ruben Gallego, whom she married in 2010 after both had graduated from Harvard, after Ruben had served two tours of duty with the Marine Corps and after Kate had earned her MBA from University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Finance. Kate grew up in Albuquerque, NM. Her parents had experienced one blizzard too many in the Chicago area and sat down with a wooden puzzle of the United States. They thought about each piece and tossed each away until they got down to the state of New Mexico. Seemed as good a place as any – there wouldn’t be any snow (that would stick!) for sure.
Kate grew up in the relatively small Jewish community where “everyone was required to go to everyone else’s bar and bat mitzvahs. And they all used the same caterer!” Her family’s values were clear: “Everyone needs the community to care for them at some time or another. Our daily lives are impacted by forces around us – sometimes beyond our control. We need collective action to attend to community problems.” Kate is now running for Phoenix City Council from District the airport, Chase Field and some areas reaching Camelback Road (gallego4Phoenix.com). Her work record exemplifies her passions.
While working at SRP, Kate developed a renewable energy program for businesses that wanted to operate using clean energy. She was instrumental in helping to secure millions of dollars in grants for solar and other cutting-edge technologies. Kate is well aware of the similarities between Arizona and Israel in terms of climate-related industries, information security and clean technology. She’s eager to strengthen relations with Phoenix’s sister City, Ramat Gan, and beyond.
As the longest serving chair of the Phoenix Environmental Quality Commission, Kate led the efforts to create a more walkable, vibrant city and to improve access to transportation options. She serves as the vice chair of PlanPHX, the 10-year plan and community conversation about the future of Phoenix, and she is a member of the Central City Village Planning Commission. Phoenix’s City elections are nonpartisan.
The eight city districts are split in two, with half (the even-numbered districts) being elected in 2013 for a four-year term, and the other half, as well as the mayor’s position, up for election in 2015. The primary election this year is on Tuesday, Aug. 27. From the primary the two top vote-getters will go on to the general election Nov. 5. If, however, one person receives 50% plus 1 of the votes in August, he or she will move into the position automatically. To check to see which city district you reside in and to find out more about elections, go to phoenix.gov/election. For the Gallego family, the varied election years work well. Ruben is currently a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, with his re-election coming up in 2014.