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James "Jamey" Hasapis

James Hasapis

What is your educational/professional background?
Education: BA in Music/Liberal Arts from California State University at Fullerton.

Professional Background: 20+ years in the Corporate Offices of the Retail and Mortgage Banking Industry as a learning development, organizational development and leadership development professional and leader. Within that period I was given a three year assignment to lead administrative services for Southern California in which I created and managed a multi-million dollar budget, provided services to over 300 retail branches and corporate departments, and streamlined processes to be more cost effective and efficient. I also worked on the acquisitions team, planning and implementing staff and branch transitions nationwide.

While living in Flagstaff, I have been a learning and development consultant, working with small businesses, municipalities and non-profit organizations.

How long have you lived in Flagstaff?
9 years

Why did you decide to make Flagstaff your home?
After visiting family in Flagstaff multiple times a year, my partner and decided to leave the high paced, high density, high rise congested life of Southern California for a simpler one in Flagstaff. We fell in love with the small town feel, mountains, pines and the people of Flagstaff.

Why are you running for mayor?
I believe our current Mayor is leading our city in a direction that is out of sync with the values, vision and cultural beliefs of Flagstaff residents. I have major concerns about development and our infrastructure – roads, water, police and fire services, our environment, social services; all of which will be over-extended, if we don’t grow wisely.

The growth of Northern Arizona University (NAU) and its impact on our city residents is another concern – this includes off-campus student housing projects, community safety, traffic flow and congestion, the quality of life for our citizens in the neighborhoods surrounding the University, and the impact that this will have at the “gateway” to Flagstaff including its effect on tourism.

Growth of our economy is another concern. We need to attract industries to Flagstaff that will provide gainful employment with livable wages so our residents will not need to work multiple jobs to make ends meet and to be able to afford a decent home for purchase or rent.

How do you think as mayor you can help improve our community’s economic outlook?
As mayor I will join our economic development department, ECONA and any relevant organizations in meetings/discussions with prospective industries to promote the benefits of doing business in our city. I would work to encourage workforce development and training within our post-secondary education system, including vocational training.

As well, I would look into ongoing and new programs to encourage small business development and reinvestment in our business districts.

I would establish a taskforce with local business owners, entrepreneurs and city staff to look at processes, procedures and ordinances, to determine their effectiveness and identify solutions to make local business developments more expedient and less costly.

What do you see as being the biggest hindrance to strengthening Flagstaff’s economy? How would you fix it?
We have too many low paying and minimum wage jobs in Flagstaff. Trailing spouses can’t find employment in their areas of expertise. Many of our citizens are working multiple jobs to afford rent or mortgages and to put food on the table. Affordable housing is another issue. Most new housing is not priced to the first time homeowner. The median price of existing homes in Flagstaff at this writing is around $315,000. The median household income is just over $48,000 (2012 Census). With these numbers and a 20% down payment, 42% of the buyer’s income would be going toward their mortgage payment – 12% above the maximum recommended 30%.

I will work to attract clean high tech and bio industries to Flagstaff that will pay a livable wage and provide gainful, sustainable employment for our residents. I will work with our housing authority, non-profits and community leaders to identify creative, sustainable and viable solutions to our housing issue.