Surprise City Council, District 1

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    Jim Cunningham

  • Candidate picture

    Roland Winters

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Biographical Information

What makes you the best person for the job?

How long have you lived in Arizona?

How long have you lived in Surprise?

What is your age?

Tell us about your background/ occupation?

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Please provide details.

What’s the best plan for downtown Surprise, and how restrictive should the city be in what development lands there?

Are you satisfied with development going on in Surprise, or what would you do differently?

As the city grows, what should the city prioritize, as far as city services and projects?

What are the greatest opportunities and challenges facing the community? What will you do to address those challenges?

Age 70
Family Married 40 years to Donna and one son
Education College at Missouri Southern. Major in Business Management and Minor in Data Processing. Numerous Business Management courses through Dun ^ Bradstreet and National Association of Credit Management.
Work history 45 years in Banking , Finance and Credit Industry. Last 38 years as Southern Division Credit Manager for a large Steel Warehouse chain overseeing 19 plants and staff.
Previous public office I had the pleasure of serving 16 consecutive years on the City Council in the North Texas area as well as serving on other boards and commissions.
Campaign Phone (214) 733-0056
I have a strong background in Finance and I feel I would be an asset to Surprise in working with staff to work through and draft the yearly budgets. My long history of experience on boards and commissions as well as 16 years on the City Council (with 5 of those serving as Vice-Mayor) gives me the tools needed to step into the role of working with developers, staff and other Council members to continue to see Surprise grow to its fullest potential. There are a lot of good reasons to make Surprise your residence of choice. There are a few areas that I would like to have the opportunity to discuss with the residents and Council as the City moves forward to be the best in the metro area. In 2012 I had the honor of receiving the National Association of Credit Managers Southwest Credit Executive of the Year and and would welcome the opportunity to utilize my proven skills to assist in the continued progress of the City. I enjoy meeting residents and aggressively seek your input.
Our family history is military so I attended high school in Phoenix for a year. I later served in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona from 1969-1970. I received an honorable discharge and returned to the Phoenix area to work. My work sent me to the Dallas area where I met my wife of 40 years. Upon my retirement in 2015 we returned to Arizona and chose Surprise as the City we wanted to retire in. We lived in the Surprise Farms neighborhood for 2 years before completing and moving into our new home in the foothills off of 163rd Ave in 2017.
We moved here in 2015 after retirement and lived in the Surprise Farms area for 2 years. We built our new home and moved into it in 2017. I have 3 years as a resident of Surprise with all of them being in District 1. This city is interesting as it has such a diverse mix, such as new families starting out as well as mid life families and a very active senior citizen sector.
I am 68 years old.
I worked in the Banking Industry for a few years and then managed a Consumer Finance Company. I went to work for a major Steel warehouse chain in 1977 as Credit Manager and enjoyed the Commercial credit field so well I spent 38 years with the same company retiring as Southern Division Credit Manager overseeing millions in receivables and a staff of employees in different regions. I had the good fortune to travel and visit different regions of the country as well as Mexico. My wife is an interior designer and owned an antique business in Dallas specializing in French, Italian, English, Scottish and Belgium antiques. We have been fortunate to having been able to travel and enjoy seeing different cultures and customs in our travels.
Absolutely Not!
I have reviewed the long range plans and see a great opportunity for the City of Surprise. This area has the potential to be a strong destination point that will bring visitors from other areas and will enhance and generate additional revenue for local businesses as well as tax dollars for the City. I understand that most of us would like to see immediate results but I cannot stress enough that there is a good long range plan in place and it was well thought out. This plan is like a blank canvas and will need to be adjusted as opportunities arise but outside developers will, also, guide the timeline as demand increases. The job of making this area desirable for future growth needs to be a top priority for both Council and staff. There is no reason to consider single family detached housing in this area and would certainly have an impact on restricting growth to better fulfill the vision. Stay the course!
The housing market is booming at this time and impact fees are coming in strong but as we all know from past experience the demand will change and the housing demand will soften. In District 1 there is a strong desire to also get a grocery store as well as a gas station located in the very Northwest area. Improving 163rd avenue as well as other arterial feeder roads in the area is also a priority that needs to be addressed ASAP. Long range plans actually call for 163rd to ultimately be a six lane divided extension all the way to Hwy 720 ( Carefree Hwy) but that will not happen for years and will be a joint effort with the County and State.
Top priorities heading into the future should include: 1. Continue to stay ahead of the curve on street improvements and repairs. Sometimes these get put on the back burner as other projects are addressed but we cannot underestimate their importance and impact on new businesses as well as developers for future growth opportunities . 2. I have always and will continue to strive to support our emergency response teams as they work to protect us and keep us safe. I am committed to seeing that both police and fire entities are provided with the latest equipment and training tools to perform their duties to the highest level. 3. I believe a City should be run as a service oriented enterprise and its residents treated as customers that are made comfortable in dealing with the City. Surprise is a business and we are its paying customers that help make it grow. 4. I have always been a strong advocate for seeking input from all residents and adjusting priorities based on that input!
The tax base of a city that is needed to operate in a solid manner is comprised of basically three areas. 1. Residential property tax valuations that at present are well off and growing as more homes are constructed. 2. Retail tax dollars generated. This continues to be an area of concern for myself. Last year alone E-COMMERCE increased by 17% and has been increasing the past few years. This E-Commerce growth has led to the decline in tax revenue from brick and mortar stores which has led to job layoffs as well big box store closings as we have all seen recently. 3. Commercial and Industrial tax revenue is the third and I consider the most important area of concern for Surprise. I see commercial growth along the 303 in Buckeye, Goodyear and other cities booming but lacking in Surprise. Action is needed now to increase this revenue source as it will strongly be needed to sustain our budget in the future. To avoid future property tax increases in the future we need Commercial growth!
Age 77
Family Wife, Carroll; daughters, Jennifer and Nancy; sons, Dave and Don
I am the only qualified candidate for the council seat of District One because I have been on the council for five years and am very familiar with all the issues that face the city of Surprise. I am also the best educated candidate for the district, holding several degrees in addition to being on many commissions., such as the Board and Commissions Selection Committee (5 years as chair), Grants Committee, MAG Economic Development Committee, Northwest Valley Connect Advisory Committee, Joint Planning Advisory Council (JPAC) Maricopa County Human Services Commission, and in January of 2018 was nominated to be Vice Mayor. Previous to being elected on the council, I have held many elective offices in California and Arizona.
10 years
I have lived in Surprise, Arizona for 10 years in Arizona Traditions with my wife, Carroll, of almost 50 years and our adult daughter, Jennifer. We have two adult sons, Dave lives in Indiana with his wife, Gina and have 3 adult children, Don lives in Florida with his wife Barb a son and daughter at home and 2 adult sons. Both my sons are ministers. My wife and I also have an adult daughter, Nancy living in Gilbert, Arizona.
My primary education was in New Jersey. In 1965 I moved to Orange County, California, and California is where I obtained my AA in Business Management with a minor in Pre-Law. BA degree in Management with a minor in Marketing.

I worked for Hughes Aircraft company for 35 years starting out as a photographer, being promoted over the years to Director over three departments
The best use of the property around our City Hall would be a nice walkable space with a mixed-use plan. I think most of the council agrees with that premise, however we don’t have a master plan to go by, and there are disagreements between the council members and between the land owners. We have been talking about these acres for years, long before my time. I hope we can reach an agreement on this project and soon. The city should be very selective on what is built there. This will be our downtown We have a blank canvas here, and we must do it right.
I am satisfied in general with the development we as a council are doing, however I would like to have a grocery store up in the northwest part of my district (District 1). Those residents must drive down to Grand & Reams just to get a loaf of bead or a quart of milk in spite of the growth up there.
A growing city, especially a city of 135,000 people should have some kind of public transportation, and I find it incredible that we don’t. I have been working diligently to get some kind of transportation for our citizens going to DC to talk to our leaders in Washington, and yes even lobbyists to try and help us. We need to have connectivity to Peoria, Glendale, and other surrounding cities so we are on the grid.
I believe that Surprise’s greatest opportunity is the building of our city center downtown. I will do my best to get a master plan and work with my colleagues and the land owners to agree on exactly what to build on that property.