Daniel is leading the effort on the City Council to help Phoenix build momentum as an epicenter for entrepreneurship. These businesses are critical to growing the city's economy. In 2014, he joined CO+HOOTS, a local co-working space, in launching the first global entrepreneur exchange program – a program that is designed to bring together the world's most innovative entrepreneurs and coworkers to share ideas in cities throughout the world.
In order to develop and train the new workforce of tomorrow in the classroom today, Councilman Valenzuela developed CodePHX, which provides free computer coding classes to youth in the city of Phoenix aged 5-17 at public libraries and community centers. CodePHX is a privately funded initiative that will expand the program over three years to 29 sites, including all 17 libraries and 12 community centers in the City of Phoenix.
Councilman Valenzuela also worked with Arizona State University to create The Hive, a program at Burton Barr Library that provides a discovery space for business entrepreneurs and combines elements of a co-working space with services and resources. The collaborative offers nearly 500 service programs and since its inception more than 36,000 individuals have utilized the space, with 2/3 of the participants women over the age of 35. Since its inception 93 startups have been launched and 139 jobs created as The Hive has set the tone for public models to embrace Phoenix as a destination for success.
Councilman Valenzuela continues to work with the Valley's higher education institutions including Arizona State University, the Maricopa County Community Colleges District and Grand Canyon University to ensure Phoenix is a destination for entrepreneurs thrive.
The Councilman has worked with the city's Community and Economic Development Department to create a program called 5K in 5Y. Through this effort, private funds will be raised to develop real estate solutions facing new or expanding startups and to provide grants to augment startup costs with the goal of creating 5,000 startups in Phoenix in 5 years.
As a Valley firefighter Councilman Valenzuela understands public safety is the most vital service local government can provide to its residents and the top priority of the city of Phoenix has to be keeping our residents safe. This emphasis on public safety is what led Councilman Valenzuela to support a current city budget that authorizes the hiring of 259 police officers as part of a strategic three-year Police Department hiring plan which will also add 85 new recruits in 2018 and 90 more officers in 2019. Combined with 305 officers added in 2016, the City of Phoenix is poised to add more than 1,000 new police officers over this four-year period.
Based on his belief that the protection and safety of its residents and their property is the most important function of local government and his desire to hire more uniformed police officers to offset expected attrition rates, Councilman Valenzuela has shown a continued commitment to ensure that over seventy percent of the city's general fund budget is dedicated to police, fire, and court services
Councilman Valenzuela also developed an innovative partnership between Grand Canyon University (GCU) and the Phoenix Police Department to create a $1 million, 5-year crime safety initiative to decrease crime in the Canyon Corridor. In 2017 the program was extended for an additional three years by GCU and PPD. GCU contributes $100,000 per year to create a stronger police presence from 43rd Ave to I-17 and Bethany Home to Indian School.
Not only has the Councilman advocated for the needs of our public safety departments with his colleagues on the City Council, he has also taken his message to Washington, DC to fight for the city's fair share of federal funds. Under his leadership and advocacy at the federal level Phoenix has brought home more than $36 million in federal funds in the past five years to support the Phoenix Fire and Police department's capabilities to prepare for and respond to a host of threats to our community's safety. This is in addition to more than $28 million in regional homeland security funds Phoenix has won for the city and its local partners.
In addition to exploring all available funding options for public safety, including general funds, federal grants, and other dedicated funding sources, Councilman Valenzuela continues to monitor city operations for innovations and efficiencies that save the taxpayer millions of dollars each year, funds which can be invested back into public safety.
With an understanding that every dollar saved is a dollar that can be used towards the hiring of new police officers, fire fighters, or the training and resources needed to support them, Councilman Valenzuela supported a comprehensive pension reform in the city of Phoenix that will help save taxpayers $596 million over 25 years.
Councilman Valenzuela also championed the expansion of transportation options in the city of Phoenix through Transportation 2050, a comprehensive transportation plan that will re-pave 680 miles of Phoenix's major streets, triple the light rail miles, and expand the hours of operation for the local bus system.
In his own council district, Councilman Valenzuela was proud to welcome the completion of the Northwest Light Rail Extension, a 3.2-mile segment that extends light rail north on 19th Avenue from Montebello to Dunlap Avenue and serve 5,000 riders per day.