Transcript: Mesa, Arizona Mayor John Giles on "Face the Nation," July 16, 2023
The following is a transcript of an interview with Mesa, Arizona Mayor John Giles that aired on "Face the Nation" on July 16, 2023.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to John Giles. He's the Republican Mayor of Mesa, Arizona, a city about 20 miles east of Phoenix at the epicenter of this heatwave. Mayor Giles Good morning to you. I imagine it's always challenging to manage a city in the middle of a desert. But with this record streak of heat, what, what is the impact on people's health and the community?
MESA, ARIZONA MAYOR JOHN GILES: Well, good- good morning, Margaret. We absolutely are, you start high temperatures in the Phoenix area and in Mesa, but-but this is unusual. Due to some of the, I guess, global conditions that you just talked about earlier, we aren't experiencing the normal rainstorms that we usually see this time of July in Arizona. So we're used to several days over 110, even-even days in the high teens. But this is unusual, because of the, you know, weeks long duration of it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And so what is the short term or future impact that you are planning for you mentioned rain? What does that mean for your water supply?
GILES: Well, water is actually always an issue in the desert, obviously. And then so we- Arizona Believe it or not, is really leads the nation when it comes to water conservation. This is the only place in the country where you have to prove that you have a 100 year guaranteed water supply before you can build anything. So that is always on our minds. And we are continuing to see challenges with the Colorado River. Thankfully, we've got other water sources that we rely on. So we feel good about our water future, although that's something that we're very, still working very hard on. Temperatures, we do have a long term plan for that as well. We have short term plans, we have a lot of cooling stations. Every year, we do a big hydration donation campaign in Mesa where we collect about, you know, several 100,000 of these so that we're prepared for helping those who are outside don't have the resources to be inside during the hot temperatures. And then long term, we- of course have climate action plans, but any climate action plan in a place like Mesa has got to take into account heat mitigation to be something that is taken seriously. So it, for example, in Mesa we have launched a campaign earlier this year to plant a million new trees in our community to create more shade, and also we're investing in transportation infrastructure.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you going to have to slow development I mean, do you know at this point in terms of more construction because of the strain on infrastructure and resources and how is the electrical grid faring?
GILES: Electricity is good. We have two major electric companies in the Phoenix area, Salt River, Project Arizona Public Service Tucson power down in Tucson, and we- so far we have not seen any brownouts or any event that- that the grid is going is going to be an issue or the wholesale electricity production is a problem. And believe it or not, and the irony here is that the Phoenix area is really in a- in a- in an economic boom right now. Places like Mesa we've got Apple, Google, Facebook, Meta all coming in making multibillion dollar investments are bringing a lot of great jobs. So the heat and the- the weather, frankly, is the reason these companies are coming to Mesa and Phoenix, hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, mudslides, we just don't do that here. So you do have to tap out, you know, some-some some high temperatures in the middle of July. But other than that the weather is actually a bonus for us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, when you were here in Washington with us last on FACE THE NATION, we talked a bit about your concerns related to migration. And you said at the time that-that the city does get overwhelmed, you're not right on the border, but you deal with the impact. I know border patrol says there has been- that the number of apprehensions has gone down in the past few months. Are you seeing that? And how is the extreme heat impacting people's movement?
GILES: While the heat absolutely is an issue for people who are attempting to cross the border, particularly those that are migrating from Central America, so that is something we're very concerned about. And the Border Patrol and humanitarian groups along the border are constantly everyday rescuing people that are in life threatening situations. So- so that's very concerning. The last time I talked with you, we were very nervous about the impacts of Title 42. And what would happen with that transition. In the past we've-we've been- every time there's a surge at the border communities like Mesa are heavily impacted because our resources are called upon when the federal government's resources are not enough. We have been so far so good, though when it comes to the Title 42 situation. But again, we remain very concerned and are looking for a long term solution there.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Mr. Mayor, good luck to you faring in this heat. Thanks for sharing your insights. FACE THE NATION will be back in a minute so stay with us.