Adolfo F. Gamez is a dedicated Councilmember of Tolleson, passionately representing the city. With a deep-rooted connection as a native of Tolleson, Councilmember Gamez has been a driving force in its evolution from a charming farming community to a thriving player within the greater Phoenix Metro area.
With an impressive 38-year tenure in Tolleson's government, Councilmember Gamez embarked on his journey as a City Councilmember in 1981, determined to change the way of how business was conducted that would benefit all, instead of the few. He was subsequently appointed Vice Mayor, holding this role for an impressive 12 years.
His desire to help and improve the lives of others and the community as a whole through action, lead him to his life as a public servant.
Earning the community’s trust, Councilmember Gamez became Tolleson’s first elected Mayor, leading the city through many positive changes in collaboration with the rest of the council and staff for 22 years. All previous Mayors were appointed by the Council.
Tolleson became an economic engine that boasts 30 Fortune 500 companies as well as 30,000 jobs for a city of six square miles and 7,000 residents under his leadership.
This has resulted in a boom of millions in tax revenues not only for the benefit of the city, but the West Valley; and, especially the Tolleson elementary and high school districts whose boundaries extend into other cities.
The true measure of the industrial development sector in the city became quite clear during the 2008 financial crisis/recession. Other cities unfortunately had to lay off employees, while Tolleson didn’t and it was a proud moment for the city.
All these companies have put Tolleson in a favorable economic position of funding its own improvement projects such as the downtown Paseo de Luces, the numerous free events for its residents in order to enhance their lives by bringing the community together, as well as many other projects, whereas, other cities require federal assistance.
This indisputable economic windfall could have taken a different turn if the proposed South Mountain Freeway would have been built through Tolleson, eliminating numerous companies as well as city hall and the high school. But as the Mayor at the time, Councilman Gamez stayed focused for four years in his fight to keep that freeway from destroying a good portion of the city.
Under his tenure as Mayor, Tolleson built a LEED Gold-certified Fire Department because safety and up-to-date equipment for our first responders to work in is of utmost importance. The department won the Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Award of Distinction in 2018. And, the Tolleson Police Department was built as a LEED Silver facility that also houses the City Court.
Councilman Gamez believes that going the extra mile for the city’s employees is important. It creates retention of senior and/or experienced employees which helps the city run smoothly and in a cohesive manner.
Councilmember Gamez's influence is felt throughout the city, marked by pivotal contributions such as the establishment of the $1.2 million Boys and Girls Club, the Esther Angulo Community Center, the community cleanup Pride Day, securing the donation of the land where Veterans Park is located, just to name a few. He didn’t limit himself to the City, as he also asked the Sheely family to donate the land where the Tolleson Elementary School District’s Sheely Farms Elementary School is now located. He viewed it as a win not only for the school district, but for the taxpayers as well.
While Mayor, it was important for Mr. Gamez to support the Tohono O’odham Nation in their quest to build the Desert Diamond Casino in the West Valley. The Council lent its backing of the Nation’s sovereign right to develop. Tolleson was the first City and for quite a while, the only city to support their efforts while the Nation fought in court for the casino, ultimately winning.
As Mayor, Councilman Gamez also started the West Valley Mayors monthly meetings to put the West Valley on the map as a driving force after recognizing that it was mostly ignored, especially when it came to higher paying employers locating in the area and that a good company locating in one city is a win for the surrounding ones; especially, the employment opportunities. He worked to get intergovernmental agreements with the Tolleson elementary and high school boards due to his strong belief that forming relationships with others to collaborate and partner with in projects, benefits the community.
While on the Council, Mr. Gamez has served on the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Council, Community Development Block Grant Committee, Western Maricopa Enterprise Zone, Estrella Mountain Community College President's Community Advisory Council, Governor’s Alliance Against Substance Abuse, Valley Metro Transportation Committee, currently on the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce Board and the alternate for the Community Development Advisory Committee.
Beyond his responsibilities serving on the Council, Mr. Gamez spent his career working at schools as the Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations & Development Operations for Estrella Mountain Community College, the Director of the Southwest Skill Center located on the same campus, and his first job after graduating from college as a Migrant Child Education Social Worker at the Tolleson Elementary School. He currently works part-time for the Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations & Development Operations office at Estrella.
A firm believer in equal educational opportunities for all, he champions both traditional and non-traditional pathways, recognizing their impact on employment prospects.
Council Member Gamez' commitment to community engagement is unwavering. His involvement spans across multiple organizations as current president of the Hispanic Leadership Forum del Oeste non-profit that has donated $1.2 million in student scholarships and which he helped found, vice president of the 501c3 Tolleson Service Committee he also helped found and which has served thousands through their signature free Mickie Diaz and Charles Landis Community Thanksgiving Dinner, a board member with the West Valley Foundation which holds a yearly event to celebrate Cesar Chavez’s birthday and life and raises funds for student scholarships. It was also his idea while Mayor, for the City to start their own non-profit which is now the Tolleson Community Coalition.
Always ready and willing to serve, his past involvement in organizations includes: vice president of the Southwest Community Network, West Valley Fine Arts Council Advisory Board, president of the Arizona Association of Chicanos for Higher Education, Tolleson Bicycle Christmas Committee, West Valley Fine Arts Council Board Member, Friendly House Advisory Board, Tolleson Lions Club, Young Life Ministries Committee, and is also a graduate of Leadership West, Class 1.
Councilman Gamez has been honored to receive numerous awards and recognitions for his work throughout the years: Tolleson Lions Club - Lion of the Year, Tolleson Lions Club - Citizen of the Year, Valle del Sol - Profiles of Success - Exemplary Leadership award, Northwest Black History Committee - Martin Luther King Community Empowerment award 2014, Estrella Mountain Community College - Employee of the Year, Maricopa Community Colleges - College Hero 2015 award, Parks and Recreation award.
Adolfo holds a Bachelor of Science in History and Psychology from Northern Arizona University, as well as an Associate of Arts in General Studies from Glendale Community College. He has been married to Tina for 42 years where they share a loving partnership where family and friends are most important besides being of service to others. As dog lovers, they adore their two pooches Sophie and Ziggy, and Wally who gained his wings.