6 apply for vacant Tucson City Council seat

A half-dozen Ward 6 residents have applied to finish the term of Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik, who stepped down from job on March 31.

Any applicant for the position, which runs through the end of 2025, must be a member of the Democratic Party and a registered voter in the city for at least three years, as well as registered in the Midtown ward for at least one year. The deadline to apply is April 15 and details can be found on the City Clerk’s website.

As of April 3, the applicants include Nina Trasoff, Ted Prezelski, Pamela Powers, Alejandro Terrrazas, Avi Erbst and Charlie Verdin.

Trasoff is public-relations strategist and former local news anchor who previously served in the Ward 6 seat from 2005 to 2009.

In her application letter, she said her experience in the Ward 6 seat meant she “would be ready and able to step into the position and serve immediately and knowledgeably if I were appointed.”’

Trasoff said she was familiar with the neighborhoods and wanted to work on downtown and Sunshine Mile revitalization, expanding affordable housing, continuing support for asylum seekers, protecting the environment, improving parks and fixing potholes.

“I see it as an extension of community service and I know the job already,” Trasoff told the Sentinel. “I’d like to continue to make a difference in a short-term position.”

She said if she were appointed, she would not seek the seat in 2025.

Prezelski is a longtime Democratic activist and former political blogger who now works as an aide to Ward 2 Councilmember Paul Cunningham. He is also the soccer correspondent for the Tucson Sentinel.

“I love our city and it has been an honor to serve its citizens for the last 11 years in the Ward 2 office, and it would be an even greater honor to represent my neighbors as their councilmember,” he said.

Prezelski said two of his key issues were water policy and expanding services for people with disabilities.

He also said he would not run in 2025.

Powers, a freelance writer and political blogger who works as social media and technology editor for the American Journal of Medicine, previously served three terms in the Arizona House of Representatives.

“I believe my background in finance, management, communications and public health—as well as my experience serving part of Ward 6 and the city of Tucson in the Arizona House—would be useful additions for the Tucson City Council,” Powers wrote.

“I want Tucson move forward while protecting our city’s eclectic characteristics, historic architecture, multicultural lifestyle and fragile desert environment,” she added.

Powers said she was undecided about seeking a full term in 2025.

Terrezas grew up in Tucson and earned a PhD in cognitive and neural systems at the University of Arizona. His career has included work as a consultant to the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors as well as a stint working for the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C. He’s since  founded a start-up focused on using technology to work with children with behavioral disorders and done other work in the tech sector.

“I have worked as an entrepreneur, an academic and as the executive of a Fortune 500 company,” Terrezas wrote. “I have a deep understanding of technology including artificial intelligence, data science, and advanced statistics. I believe these technical skills can be a real asset (especially in current times.”

He said that if were appointed to the seat, he would run for it in 2025.

Erbst, a real estate broker who founded Cordova Realty in 2020, said he had a “strong background in leadership” and was “enthusiastic about the opportunity to serve our city and contribute positively to its growth and development.”

He said he was “particularly passionate about education and crime.”

Verdin is the owner of Fangamer, an online videogame retailer. He previously ran for Congress in 2018.

He said in his letter that his focus would be on constituent service.

“Steve Kozachik’s office has a reputation for being responsive, communicative and above all else, helpful,” he wrote in his letter. “My greatest concern is that the next council member would fail to put in the work to maintain that reputation.”

Verdin said he would run for the office in 2025.

Miranda Schubert, who captured 27 percent of the vote when she challenged Kozachik for the Ward 6 seat in 2021, told the Sentinel she was planning to apply for the job and intended to run for it in 2025.

“I think local government has so much potential to impact people’s lives for the better,” Schubert said. “I like the directness of it. I like the focus on infrastructure. I’m really interested in transit and housing and land use and development and how do we do those things in a way that also meets our climate resiliency goals? How can we develop and grow in a smart way that helps people?”

Shaq McCoy, an aide to Pima County Supervisor Matt Heinz, has also expressed interest in the job, as has TUSD Board member Ravi Shah.

Another rumored applicant, former Ward 3 councilmember Karin Uhlich, now lives in Ward 6 but did not respond to a question of whether she would be applying for the job.

A League of Women Voters forum with any applicant who wishes to attend has been scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at Our Saviors Lutheran Church, 1200 N. Campbell Ave.

The forum was originally scheduled for City Hall’s Council Chambers but City Attorney Mike Rankin advised organizers that they should change the venue because the City Council had not included a forum as part of the application process.