Outgoing Vice Mayor and District 3 Councilmember Dennis Kavanaugh and District 1 Councilmember Dave Richins discussed their time serving the city as featured guests of December’s “Mesa Morning Live.”
Both men are not leaving their posts without giving their all this month to community service.
Kavanaugh has been serving the city on and off since 1975. This time of year, he’s known as Mesa’s elf, hosting a holiday pancake breakfast and toy drive for families in need.
“This year we collected more than 6,000 toys,” he said.
Richins added that Kavanaugh doesn’t get enough credit “for all the outreach he’s done” during his time on the City Council.
“What happens at Cardon Children’s Medical Center this time of year is amazing and it wouldn’t happen without Dennis Kavanaugh,” Richins said.
Kavanaugh said he plans to work on rebuilding his law practice and continue being a chamber member (he’s been a member for more than 20 years).
Richins, who works for Resolution Copper Mining, said he plans to continue serving on the Mesa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and spending time with his children.
“I think we’ve left the city better than we found it,” Richins said. “I’m really excited about the business community and the strength they have in building the future.”
When asked, what makes a good councilmember, both had the following to say.
“You have to have a lot of patients, thick skin and a sense of humor,” Kavanaugh said, reminiscing about some of the oddest things he’s been involved with from a resident wanting an ordinance that all cats must be on leashes to requests from others to find a way to prevent their neighbor’s cat from defecating in their yard.”
“We never thought we’d be working on animal issues when we got on City Council,” Kavanaugh laughed.
“I had to handle the cow effort in Lehi because residents were calling code compliance saying their neighbor was sneaking an extra cow on an acre,” he laughed.
“The last eight years have been the best,” Kavanaugh said. “This City Council is not afraid to take risks and the stability of leadership is where Mesa is now.”
“We have reinvested in our neighborhoods,” Richins said, highlighting the city’s graffiti app. “It comes down to a big quality of life issue. This app is neat because after I’ve received calls and used it we’ve had responses in under 20 minutes to take care of the graffiti work order.”
Richins said Mesa is a great place to raise a family and Kavanaugh agreed, saying the city is stable, has great schools and services for all who live here.
“There is lots to do here between arts to how we’re repurposing and improving our parks,” Kavanaugh added.
District 1 residents voted for Mark Freeman to replace Richins and District 3 voters elected Ryan Winkle to replace Kavanaugh. Both men, along with Jeremy Whittaker in District 2 and Mayor John Giles will be officially sworn in to the Mesa City Council from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12 at the Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St.
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.