Matt McWilliams is a father, has served on the planning and zoning commission for over two years and is an 11-year resident of Queen Creek. He is running for Queen Creek Town Council, campaigning alongside two of his fellow candidates, Dawn Oliphant and Bryan McClure.
McWilliams and his family moved to Queen Creek 11 years ago from Arkansas and haven’t looked back since. He is a compliance manager while also being a licensed attorney. He ran for Queen Creek Town Council back in 2016 and just missed out on one of the open seats. Only a resident of Queen Creek for five years at the time, McWilliams used it as a learning opportunity to prepare him for future opportunities.
“The experience was good,” he said in an interview with the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce. “No one wants to come in second place. I wanted to secure a seat and serve the town, but I did learn a lot in the process.”
Since his initial campaign McWilliams began working on the planning and zoning commission, which helps to ensure Queen Creek and its land have a plan for the future. They plan out where new housing will go versus land for business use and more, to ensure Queen Creek grows sustainably.
“We’re building a lot of businesses, housing and all the things that come with a growing town and that’s the bulk and majority of the cases that come forward,” he said in the chamber interview. “What I’ve really enjoyed is the opportunity not only to see what’s coming, but shape those (plans)…maybe it’s a little bit mysterious but when you get right down to it, it’s really straightforward of people trying to work together to do what’s best for the town.”
Like the other candidates, McWilliams is running to help Queen Creek continue to be an amazing place to raise a family. He not only wants to keep it a great place in the short term, but he wants to make sure the town is planned and develops in a way that makes Queen Creek great 20 years down the road.
That’s where his experience on the planning and zoning commission comes in. McWilliams said at the town election forum that Queen Creek is facing some challenges with its growth and he wants to use his skills to help the town grow properly.
“It was so much fun to work with trying to balance the needs of the citizens in the town and what we need here and jobs and things for the kids and parks and where are we going to put all these things and how we're going to fit it together. I just really enjoyed the work that I got to do there,” McWilliams said in the interview.
Along with the proper development of the town, his priorities are the roads and transportation along with public safety. McWilliams said the town needs to give police officers and firefighters more resources as they help keep our community safe. Included in that are the roads, which help speed up responding times for public safety officers.
In terms of business, McWilliams believes the market of Queen Creek along with the economic development staff will bring businesses to town. He said that as the town and the Valley grow, businesses will come. One business McWilliams is in support of is LG Energy Solution, saying that the increase in taxes on people now could result in thousands of dollars saved years down the line, a position shared by his campaign partners.
McWilliams is also a supporter of parks, saying the tax burden of parks is similar to other communities. He said he wants to do what the community members support and he can see the citizens want parks. He added that parks are important in keeping Queen Creek’s small-town feel.
“One of the things that I think I really like about the general plan is, and everyone comments when they come to visit and we kind of take it for granted a little bit, are the parks that we do have,” McWilliams said in the chamber interview. “I think the way that they laid it out and the plan that we have for those is money well spent and it makes for a better quality of life in Queen Creek.”
McWilliams has an extensive background with the planning and zoning commission along with a previous run for Town Council. He is looking to utilize skills learned there to help Queen Creek develop into a town that remains the greatest place to raise a family.
The Primary Election is coming up on Tuesday, Aug. 2, although mail-in ballots are already out. The General Election (if necessary) will be on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Queen Creek voters will elect a new mayor and three council members. Councilwoman Julia Wheatley's seat on council opens up the third seat as she runs unopposed for mayor. In addition, we've featured the two propositions (Prop 464 – permanent base adjustment and Prop 465 – Southwest Gas franchise agreement) on the ballot.
For more information on each candidate, visit the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce’s meet the candidate interviews HERE.
Queen Creek residents who live in Maricopa County can view their ballot status and other information by visiting BeBallotReady.vote. Pinal County voters may be impacted by recent ballot issues. To see if you are impacted and for more information, visit pinalcountyaz.gov/Vote.