Jan 25, 2024 - Politics

Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson drops reelection bid amid teen violence controversy

A police officer speaking to a dais.

The Gilbert Town Council meets earlier this month. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson will no longer seek reelection, she announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Peterson's decision comes as the town faces continued criticism over the Gilbert Police Department's handling of teen violence cases and more than a year of infighting on the town council.

What they're saying: Peterson ended the campaign to spend more time with her family, she said in a statement.

  • "I have just over 11 months remaining as mayor and I will continue to give 110% and I am excited to enjoy this last year as I continue to put the business of this town and the residents first!" she said.

State of play: Gilbert Vice Mayor Scott Anderson and former deputy county attorney Shane Krauser are the only remaining mayoral candidates for the August primary.

Catch up quick: Gilbert parents have criticized Peterson over the past two months, saying she and other town leaders were asleep at the wheel as teen violence spread throughout the East Valley.

  • The Arizona Republic reported in December that a group of teens calling themselves the "Gilbert Goons" had carried out a string of attacks for more than a year.

The council voted earlier this month to create a subcommittee to address teen violence.

  • "So much has been said this evening that we didn't know about this topic. I didn't know about this topic until the four women came and spoke to us at our last council meeting. I don't have school-aged children," Peterson said at the meeting.

Meanwhile, she's butted heads with other council members, resulting in multiple ethics complaints against her.

  • The council ultimately decided to bring in an outside mediator to work through their differences.

The intrigue: Peterson confirmed she was running for reelection to the Republic last week, saying, "I know and understand the everyday demands of the position of mayor, along with the history of the growth and development of the community."

Of note: Peterson did not respond to Axios Phoenix's request for comment.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson's statement.


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