In the lead-up to the 2020 election year, Eastern Arizona Courier will be featuring elected officials from throughout Graham County, asking about their communities and their approach to local issues. We spoke with Safford Mayor Jason Kouts. Kouts owns the construction company, Kouts and Sons, and is spearheading the effort to develop Josiah’s House, a faith-based drug rehabilitation facility named for their son, who passed away from a drug overdose. He is currently on his second term as mayor.
Courier: What is the most important quality in the leader of a community?
Kouts: A deep commitment to build relationships by listening to others and seeking to understand them. Then remove obstacles by looking for organizational and situational barriers, keeping a steady course in spite of difficulties, always encouraging others.
Courier: What are your feelings on cooperation between local communities?
Kouts: Together we are strong. Cooperation encourages commitment, ownership and participation where everyone is a part. Cooperation means the success of one aligns directly with the success of all.
Courier: What is the reason you decided to participate in local government?
Kouts: My whole life, I have had a strong passion for my city. I always wanted to be a part. And I knew being a public servant, civically involved, I could play a role in making an effort to benefit lives, by making Safford a better place to live for our future generations.
Courier: What changes do you see coming to the community during your period as mayor?
Kouts: I have a strong desire to have beautiful, safe parks that our citizens can take their families to enjoy. I also encourage downtown festivals and fun family activities. We are working hard with our local law enforcement to crack down on drug dealers and offer alternate solutions, such as rehab and education, for those on drugs. We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I’ve also encouraged not only Safford citizens, but also staff, to have open communication with me and the council. I want to be a thriving community that has responsible growth, open to new and old businesses. I want Safford to be a place that young families can raise their children and have a wonderful quality of life.
Courier: In what ways are you willing to improve the quality of life for the aging seniors in our communities?
Kouts: We offer many activities at our local library with education, etc. We have the program “Give From The Heart,” to help ease the burden on utility bills. We are continually constructing new sidewalks with upgrades for ADA. We as a city are always looking after our local elderly by helping in any way possible. I love our great city.