Phoenix lobbyist Wes Gullett now pledges to walk away from his lobbying firm if elected mayor of Phoenix.
"I will divest my entire interest from my company," he says in a statement released this morning.
Gullett has come under fire since he stepped into the 2011 Phoenix mayor's race for being a founding partner of an influential lobbying firm.
Gullett's spokesman says Gullett's partners at FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs would buy him out, and that he would no longer have financial interest in the company.
The candidate's decision comes on the heels of a "No Lobbyists in the Mayor's Office" challenge Greg Stanton, also a mayoral candidate, made on Monday night during a live debate.
Stanton pledged that if he's elected, neither he nor any member of his staff will "hold a personal financial stake in any firm or organization that lobbies public officials in the state of Arizona or accept payment of any kind from any company that lobbies public officials in the state of Arizona."
"As Mayor, you owe it to the people to free yourself from conflicts of interest," Stanton said during a Phoenix Chamber of Commerce-sponsored debate.
Gullett fired back at Stanton, pointing out that Phoenix lobbyist Paul Lopez, son of high-profile lobbyist Ronnie Lopez, is one of the co-chairs of Stanton's campaign. (Interesting that Gullett doesn't mention Art Hamilton, a state legislator-turned-lobbyist and one of Gullett's former business partners at FirstStrategic. Hamilton is also a co-chair of the Stanton for Mayor campaign.)
"This will end the nonsense that has been spewed by my opponents, who are afraid to discuss the real issues facing our city and to respond to the real questions our taxpayers have for their prospective leaders," Gullett says.
Gullett's announcement comes just days after he waffled about what he would do with his interests in FirstStrategic, a company he says he built up for nine years.
During Monday night's debate, aired live on KPHO Channel 5, Gullett defended his interests in his lobbying firm.
"My intention is to take a leave of absence," he said two days ago, adding that it wasn't fair that his opponents wanted him to sell his share in the company. He said they didn't want him to "have anything left" and that he believed it was "only fair for me to keep what I've built up."
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