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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[…]

Becoming the young mayor of Tempe, Arizona seemed to happen by chance, Giuliano says.

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