CASA GRANDE — It would be fair to say serving the public runs deep in the DNA of Bob Huddleston, the current Casa Grande city councilman who is seeking another term in the upcoming elections.
Huddleston, 64, spent 33 years with the Casa Grande Police Department, working his way up through the ranks as police officer to detective, sergeant and lieutenant. The crowning moment of his career came in 1999 when he became the local police chief, a position he held for 14 years before retiring from the force in 2013.
Despite retirement, Huddleston is actively involved in the legal system in the form of being a judge pro tempore with the Pinal County Justice Court system.
With considerable experience in law enforcement, Huddleston told PinalCentral his background had proved invaluable in terms of working with the community and understanding their needs and issues.
“Being a police officer in the community you grew up in was beneficial,” he said. “You already know a lot of people, you see a lot of familiar faces. I loved being a police officer responding to issues, emergencies and incidents. You learned the city never closes. It’s 24/7, there’s always something going on within the city.
“I was fortunate enough to get elected to council for the last three and a half years and I throughly enjoy it. I think my expertise in public safety has helped me a lot. I think every city council needs someone with that kind of expertise on it. In Casa Grande, public safety with our police and fire department takes the lion’s share of general funding. So we as a council cover a lot of issues that affect police and fire, so I think I bring that background to the group and have hopefully served them well,” he said.
With the Casa Grande region currently enjoying an accelerated economic surge, Huddleston said the boom has been created by a series of influences.
“I think it’s important from a council person’s standpoint to see the big picture with regards to what’s going on,” he said. “We’re experiencing rapid growth. Growth is very cyclical in that different phases of growth are triggered by one thing and then the next phase is dependent of another. We are seeing that with Lucid Motors. Lucid came to Casa Grande for many reasons, but one is because our community is well rounded and balanced. They came here believing their employees would be happy here and with the services and amenities that we have.”
So of course when the employees come in, there is a need for housing and the housing market took off. That is followed by service industry growth, including restaurants and other amenities.
“I think it’s very important on City Council that we be very aware of what is going on and that we have to make good decisions that are good and proper for everyone that lives here,” said Huddleston.
With the deadline for council candidate to be submitted next Monday, Huddleston has already lodged his official paperwork including the required 400 signatures thanks in no small part to wife Doria Garza-Huddleston.
“Doria is my campaign manager. She’s the one I really have to thank for getting all of my signatures. She’s been the legwork through all of that process,” he said.
One thing Huddleston said influences his everyday life and work is his family.
“Most of my family of five grown children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren live nearby and family is very important. That’s one of the main reasons why we are here. We will never leave Casa Grande because our families live nearby.
“I think family relationships are very important. I’m a family man, that’s part of who I am and that’s part of Bob Huddleston the council member as well.”