Neil G. Giuliano is an American gay rights activist. He was the former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, Arizona. He chaired the commission in charge of hosting the third debate of the 2004 United States presidential elections. He has served as President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) since September 1, 2005.
Question: Where are you from?
Neil Giuliano: I was born and raised in Bloomfield, New Jersey, as the son of a local elected official and a homemaker, and it shaped who I am by being brought up in a family that was very community oriented, very public service oriented. And that was my world, I was the councilman's kid growing up through junior high and high school. At first I really didn't anticipate entering politics. I thought I would be having a career in university administration. I aspired to be a dean at Arizona, where I went to college. People encouraged me to get involved in the community and I joined the local Kiwanis club and got involved with the Chamber of Commerce and the Temple Leadership Program, and the next think I knew people were saying, "You should run for City Council." And one thing led to the next and I did and spent 14 years in local office in Arizona, four as a council member and 10 as the mayor.
Question: What was your platform when you first ran for office?
Neil Giuliano: Well when I first ran I was young; it was 1990, I was living in a fraternity house two years before I was running for office. But my theme and the things I was talking about was about bridging to the future. That was the theme I used-- before Bill Clinton used it in 1996, by the way-- I used it as my theme for running for mayor of Tempe, Arizona in 1994. And it was all about knowing the community, having been there from college until as a young adult and so forth, and then bridging to the future and looking to the future and what do we want our community to be? And I was the youngest person with the least amount of experience running in that three-way race for mayor that year, but I somehow got elected and spent 10 years in that office.
Recorded on: Mar 4 2008