Breaking News
More () »

Phoenix's 1st Black councilwoman was a political unknown. But she had a secret to her success.

Kesha Hodge Washington tells 'Sunday Square Off' she relied on African-American sorority she leads for vital campaign support.

PHOENIX — The first African-American woman elected to the Phoenix City Council shares one of the secrets of her success on this weekend's "Sunday Square Off."

Councilwoman-elect Kesha Hodge Washington, a lawyer and former assistant attorney general, was a political unknown when she took on incumbent Carlos Garcia, a widely known activist, in South Phoenix's District 8. 

The district is home to more African-American residents than any other council district, but Hodge Washington will be the district's first Black City Council member in 10 years. 

She said her sorority sisters at the Phoenix chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, which she serves as president, played a key role in her trail-blazing victory.

Delta Sigma Theta is a century-old African-American sorority.

"My sorors played an important role in helping me financially, in helping me canvass to get my word out, and making introductions," Hodge Washington said.

"Social action is one of the key components of our organization. They saw the skills in me to make a noticeable difference in our community."

Hodge Washington will be joined on the nine-member City Council by a second African-American newcomer, former Phoenix police commander Kevin Robinson.

They will take office on April 17.

Both Hodge Washington and Robinson won their runoff elections last week by double-digit margins.

Garcia was the first incumbent council member since at least 1990 to be defeated in a re-election campaign.

Hodge Washington also discusses:

  • Her plan for the soaring number of people who are homeless.
  • What Mayor Kate Gallego's endorsement means.
  • How her views of law enforcement differ from Garcia's, who is a longtime critic.
  • Why her largest donor group - real estate interests who gave her campaign $130,000 - view her as an ally.

"Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on 12News, after NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd. 


Sunday Square Off

See the latest segments from the 12News politics show "Sunday Square Off" on our YouTube playlist here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out