KGUN 9News


Three candidates hoping to represent Ward 3 on the Tucson city council

Posted at 9:32 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-25 00:32:39-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) Three Democrats are hoping for a spot on the Tucson City Council to represent Ward 3. 

KGUN9 spoke to them about why they are running and what issues are important to them.


Paul Durham moved to Tucson in 2004 and considers himself a "solar advocate." He says he has a plan to have the Tucson city government on 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Durham was a business transactions attorney and says he knows how our city government works. In 2005 he was the campaign manager for former city council member Nina Trasoff, then he was her chief of staff.

KGUN9 asked Durham what sets him apart from the other candidates.

"I will be a full-time council member, and second I have a combination of knowledge skills and experience I believe will benefit the council," Durham said.

Durham is an avid cyclist, and for two decades he says he advised businesses and helped them grow. He was inspired to run for city council in part so he could stand up for the groups he says President Donald Trump is attacking. 

"Immigrants, women -- you name it," Durham said. "Education is under attack from both Phoenix and Washington D.C. It's a long list."


Tom Tronsdal grew up in Ward 3. He moved there in 1983 with his mother and graduated from Salpointe Catholic High School, then the University of Arizona. Tronsdal met his wife in Ward 3, and now the couple is raising their son in the neighborhood.

Tronsdal owns the Canyon Fence Company and isn't running on one single issue. He thinks there are a lot of important issues in the ward, including improving public transportation and school safety.

Over the years Tronsdal has seen the area evolve and has been part of the change.

"All the solutions people talk about and how to improve our community, I've actually done them," Tronsdal said. 

Tronsdal has served on boards for multiple agencies including Prince Salvation Army and the City of Tucson Small Business Commission. He also founded a 5K race, The Great Pumpkin Race, which raises money to support research for neurological conditions. Tronsdal was inspired to create the race because of his son.

As a city council member, Tronsdal says it is important for the council to engage with members of the community.

"If people aren't being heard, then we're just guessing as elected officials as to what's important," Tronsdal said. "You know, are we taking care of the mattresses in the vacant lots? Are we taking care of the shopping carts randomly in medians? Are there certain bike lanes that are not navigable for kids?"


Felicia Chew is the candidate who was endorsed by the outgoing Ward 3 Tucson city council member Karen Uhlich. 

Chew is a teacher, but is now working as a substitute teacher as campaigning has taken up much of her time. She moved to Tucson with her children in 2011.

Strengthening neighborhoods is important to Chew. She thinks getting to know your neighbors can prevent crime, and she already has ideas to bring people together including a writing challenge. 

"It's inviting everybody in the community, starting off probably with Ward 3 or businesses who are in ward 3, to share their stories about who are they, where did they come from why are they doing the things their doing," Chew said.

Chew say she is a domestic abuse survivor, and for a long time she did not speak up. She wants to encourage people to speak up and report crimes.

"I think I'm able to relate to folks in my community and be able to be an example and say, 'when you're in this situation, don't worry you can still speak up,'" Chew said. 

Chew says she was also a member of the city's Citizen Police Advisory Review Board for four years.

The candidate who wins the primary will be up against independent Gary Watson.