In the southernmost part of Arizona, Gilbert is a city that is growing rapidly without remorse. With families from California and Utah making the move to the desert, it is important to know the political background of the possible city of your dreams. So, is Gilbert, Arizona a liberal city?
Gilbert, Arizona is not a liberal city. It is listed as the 9th best city for conservative families and has voted Republican in the most recent elections. Gilbert is a gun-friendly town and has a high population of Latter-Day Saints and Christians. However, abortion remains legal in Arizona.
To understand the political complexities of Gilbert and what kind of people you will encounter, keep reading!
What is Gilbert, Arizona’s Voting History?
Maricopa County, where Gilbert resides, is leaning liberal with 50.1% of residents voting Democratic and 48% voting Republican in the 2020 presidential election. However, Maricopa County has been Republican for the previous 5 presidential elections and has strong Republican leaders such as Doug Ducey, the current governor, Mark Brnovich, the current attorney general, and Kimberly Yee, the current treasurer.
Gilbert, Arizona has more Republican voters in the city. In April 2022, 34.47% voted Republican. This was a slight advantage to Democratic voters, who contributed to 31.09% of the ballots. There was a surprisingly strong ballot count of those who were considered as “other” at 33.63%.
Additionally, in the state of Arizona in October 2021, 912,152 voters were Republican and 818,465 were Democratic. There were also 896,975 who voted as “other”. These statistics show that while republicans are the slight majority, there is a collection of Democratic individuals and nonpartisan representatives. The nonpartisan representatives and sometimes the Democratic voters could potentially vote Republican at some point.
The current mayor of Gilbert is Brigette Peterson. She is nonpartisan, which means she has no specific affiliation with a political party. She was elected in 2021 and her term ends in 2025.
What Political Issues are Prevalent in Gilbert?
The hot-button topics for Gilbert residents include gun control, abortion, affordable housing, and water supply. Gilbert’s city council is highly efficient, very involved in the community, and takes residential concerns quite seriously.
In Arizona, the minimum age to purchase a firearm is 18 years old unless the individual is occupied by a parent, guardian, or safety instructor. Anyone under 21 years old cannot purchase a handgun. Anyone between the ages of 14 to 17 that are using firearms for lawful recreation such as hunting or agriculture may get an exception. Gun dealers are not required to obtain a state license, there are no required records of gun sales or background checks, and gun shows are highly unregulated.
Arizona is one of the few states that have few gun regulations. Arizona also has a high firearm death rate, especially among couples. 1,155 people die in Arizona from gun violence yearly, and it is ranked 43 out of 50 when it comes to gun law strength in the United States.
Gilbert residents over 21 are free to purchase, own, and carry a gun. In 2006, Gilbert required public establishments to offer gun lockers to individuals who hold a gun but do not have a permit. In 2014, the Gilbert Council voted that gun permit holders are allowed to carry concealed firearms into public buildings, whereas firearms were illegal in all public buildings before.
When I lived in Gilbert, I noticed that there was a strong gun culture. There is a lot of recreational shooting but not very much hunting done due to the desert landscape and lack of wild game. Like most western states, a lot of people are open about their guns and their opinions about guns.
Some people may not think these laws make the city safe, but the crime rate is quite low. On a scale of 1-100, Gilbert scores 10.4 compared to the national average of 22.7 for violent crime. For property crime, the city scores 23.1, which is again lower than the national average, which is 35.4.
With Roe vs Wade being overturned on June 24, 2022, abortion has been quite a controversial topic. With “red” being Republican and “blue” being Democratic, and unlike several western states, Arizona is a “swing state”. This means that the state is more likely to switch between being a “blue” or a “red” state. In the 2020 election, Arizona was a “blue” state, while in the 2016 election, it was a “red” state.
Abortion was a constitutional right since 1973, and on June 28, 2022, new laws were set in place by the state of Arizona:
- Abortions must only be performed if the patient’s life is endangered.
- Abortions cannot be performed for race or sex selection.
- Abortion clinics must meet extremely specific standards in terms of staffing and building.
- A patient will receive state-directed counseling that discourages abortion.
- Abortion will only be covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act if the abortion is in cases of life endangerment or compromised physical health.
- If the patient is a minor, a guardian must give consent for an abortion.
Knowing this, we can understand that the state allows abortions, but they are limited and restricted so that the blue areas can have access to abortions, but the red areas can have limitations on it. You will begin to see more states come up with solutions like this, or you might see states completely allow or ban abortions.
Inflation has hit the United States, and it has heavily affected housing prices. Arizona, specifically the Pheonix area, has advanced 3.1% from April 2022 to June 2022. Food prices have increased 9.3% and energy prices (such as gasoline) have increased 43.3%. With this combined, food and energy prices have increased 10.2% over the past year.
Before this year (2022) of inflation, housing prices are sky high in Gilbert. In the Pheonix metro area, house price appreciation is at 29%.
The housing market is very competitive and in June of 2022, Gilbert home prices were up 19.4% compared to the previous year. The median price of a home is $603,000 and while 398 have been sold in June, 498 were sold in June of last year. This is showing a decline in buying homes due to a lack of affordable housing and fewer homes available for purchase.
Part of the reason for this is because there were more buyers than sellers, meaning there is or was a home shortage and it made buying a home very competitive. But, as inflation grew, many people had to back out of the market because home prices and interest rates were becoming too high.
I was able to live with my in-laws when I was in Gilbert, and they were in the process of selling their home and building another one. Their home was in a popular neighborhood and it was sold through a relator the first day it was on the market. Additionally, many new homes are being built in the undeveloped areas of Queen Creek, a neighboring town, because there is less room available in Gilbert. The truth is that Gilbert, Arizona is expanding, getting less affordable, and it’s hard to find a home here.
Gilbert’s water system is extremely sophisticated and consists of surface water, reclaimed water, and groundwater. The water is stored for the community and strategically for future needs. Sources of water are the Colorado River, Salt and Verde River, groundwater, and reclaimed water.
Even though Gilbert’s water supply is extremely well thought out, the amount of water that is coming from the Colorado River is decreasing. This is leading to water shut-offs and demands for more wells. With this, water prices have increased. Extreme water use in a desert environment raises environmental concerns for many residents.
Is Gilbert LGBTQ+ Friendly?
Arizona has parts that have a perfect score of 100 points in 2019 for LGBTQ+ friendliness, such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Tempe. Gilbert, Arizona came in at 56 points in 2019 and increased to 73 points in 2022.
Gilbert scored high on LGBTQ+ representation in law enforcement and lower hate crime rates, earning 22 out of 22 points available. For LGBTQ+ leadership, it scored 6 out of 8 with public positions in support of LGBTQ+ residents.
There are no transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits or a non-discrimination ordinance. However, Gilbert scored 2 out of 2 for an inclusive workplace and youth bullying prevention services. The city also has services for LGBTQ+ youth but less representation for the transgender community.
Gilbert overall is a very safe city with low rates of crime but a high price tag. Inflation is high, and there is a consumerist culture, however, with the right political bias, people are very accepting. With the high inflation rates and controversial topics aside, people are truly kind in Gilbert, Arizona.
Overall, Gilbert is a beautiful, family-friendly place to live. It has everything you could want and need. There are many policies and laws that differ from other states and large cities, but the proof is in the pudding! Clearly, what the city is doing works to keep the citizens happy, satisfied, and safe.