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Affiliate Spotlight: Tom Simplot, Arizona Multihousing Association

Tom Simplot, AMA

Tom Simplot is the President/CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association (AMA). He has been with AMA for six years and recently finished three terms on the Phoenix City Council, including serving as Vice Mayor. NAA caught up with him to discuss AMA’s legislative priorities, the political races he’s watching and which Sunday morning show he can’t miss.

NAA: What are your state legislators focusing on this year?  

TS: Arizona will see a new governor next year, and we will have new leadership in both parties, but education funding and business development will undoubtedly be hot topics.  

NAA: What are AMA’s state legislative priorities this year? 

TS: Having successfully passed legislation this year to add a representative from the apartment industry to the Arizona Real Estate Advisory Board, our next task is to ensure an appointment of a qualified representative. Also, we are researching the feasibility of legislation that would allow the apartment industry to “opt out” of compulsory city-provided trash services as well as possibly some tax issues. 

NAA: What are the local legislative/regulatory priorities for this year? 

TS: Updating building codes; limiting government overreach into design guidelines for new development; and partnering with cities and towns to defeat mandatory recycling and instead create incentives for voluntary apartment community recycling programs.

NAA: What races are you watching this year? 

TS: All statewide races are in play this year. Arizona has a history of electing some candidates from the fringe of the political spectrum, so the business and real estate community is much more unified this year to ensure pro-business candidates have the resources they need to connect with voters.  

NAA: How did you get involved in politics? 

TS: I volunteered on numerous local political campaigns, and was offered the job as Chief of Staff for a local County Supervisor.  

NAA: What is the most challenging aspect of your job? 

TS: Keeping up with our 2,000 members and the 120 events we produce each year.

NAA: What are the top three issues that association members consistently throw at you?  

TS: 1) Too many events; 2) Too few events; 3) Registration closed on what date?

NAA: What are your typical day-to-day responsibilities? Fill in the percentages of what issues you most occupy your time with on a day-to-day basis. 

TS: Day to Day?  Government Affairs work is like herding cats. It takes patience, perseverance and a leap of faith that others will keep their word. Local: 70 + State: 25 + Federal: 5 = 100 percent

NAA: What is your favorite political movie? 

TS: There is no better political movie than “Dave!”

NAA: What was the last “non-political” book that you’ve read?  

TS: “Confessions of a Hotel Insider” by Jacob Tomsky.  

NAA: It’s Sunday morning, which show are you watching? Face the NationMeet the Press or This Week?  

TS: Trick question!  I catch the worthwhile comments from all three shows online during my Sunday routine.

NAA: Do you miss your Blackberry?  

TS: Yes and no.  I prefer my iPhone, but get nostalgic about the old Blackberry days, when smartphones seemed new and fresh.

NAA:  Who do you follow on Twitter? 

TS: Local reporters and a select few elected officials.  

NAA: What do you do during your down time?  

TS: I am working my way through my travel bucket list and travelled around Cape Horn earlier this year. 

NAA: If you weren’t in politics, what would you be doing? 

TS: Real estate.