Before entering the race to become the mayor of Phoenix, Arizona on most evenings you might typically find Moses Sanchez, the “cook of the compound” whipping up the evening meal for at least seven people in a “fusion” style of his heritages of birth, nation of chosen citizenship, and surroundings loved and respected. A fusion of American, Latin or Panamanian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican all of which blended and many times found their way onto Snapchat, which in turn during this mayoral campaign has led to a political introduction soon turning into comments such as, “Hey! I know you… You’re the guy who does the cooking. I’ve seen your stuff on Snapchat!”
“Chief, cook and bottle washer” really is the position Moses Sanchez, the young Republican candidate for mayor of Phoenix is seeking in his quest to be the first Republican elected to lead America’s fifth largest city since 1999. And it was only recently that writer, Clark H. Caras of Candidates.vote was able to spend some quality time with the “cook of the compound”, who says he’s not expecting to appear on Masterchef any time soon.
Candidates.vote – “Cook of the compound,” does have an interesting ring to it? There has to be a story there with that one you could maybe share with people?”
Candidate Sanchez – “Isn’t there a story with everything? But yes, there certainly is with my family, especially when it comes to the ‘compound.’ You see, my wife Maria and I began our journey in all of this with a blended family and now are lucky enough to have three adult children and three grandchildren.
We have seven year old twin girls as granddaughters and one more girl as well and they just live next door though the block; so we knocked down the fence just have one great big landscaped yard – thus, the compound!”
Candidates.vote – “Alright, so this cooking thing you seem to have down. Almost everyone I’ve ever met who served in the Navy, as you did for 21 years, s”eem to come home with a talent for cooking. Can we assume…”
Candidate Sanchez – “No. They Navy really didn’t help me there. I had to learn because my wife, Maria Manriquez, is a world renowned OBGYN and on most night was out delivering babies. So that left me here with pretty much everyone – all three grand kids, their mom and dad and my other two kids.
“I figured it this way. She was out delivering babies 70 hours a week. The least I could do was cook five days a week, but it wasn’t something that came naturally. It was definitely a gift. Lots of practice and repeat and then do it over again. I’m feeding seven to eight people and I can tell you – I’ve had to get efficient with my time and get this down to 40 minutes or less.
It’s just like campaigning. You’ve only got so much time to meet with all kinds of people. You have to be efficient with what you want to express to people. Get their feedback as to what you have to present – good or bad – and listen or it’s just like when you have a bad meal because you didn’t do that listening.”
Candidates.vote – “So this fusion thing? Where and how did that come into being?”
Candidate Sanchez – “Guess it comes from my backgrounds. I’ve been a lot of places, done a lot of things and seen a bit of the world. My cooking is American, Mexican and Latin flare and having served in the Navy in the Middle East and two trips through the Panama Canal, I’ve tasted my share of diverse flavors and like to bring that into my cooking.”
Candidates.vote – “You talk about diversity in your cooking and in looking in the markets in Phoenix for your next great experiment in flavor for the family meal. How does any of that relate to what you see around you as you campaign?”
Candidate Sanchez – “We live in a diverse city. Maybe one of the most diverse that there is in America,” he said. “This is a city with a population that is 30 percent Hispanic, yet it’s never had a Hispanic mayor. We are a city of fusion and diversity and with that comes particular problems, but a flavor that is unique and worth the experience.”
Candidates.vote – “So we know you can cook and next time we’re in Phoenix we are definitely going to insist on trying some of that talent. We are interested though in what the last book the future mayor of Phoenix is reading, or has just read.”
Moses chuckles just a bit as he answers this one. Candidate Sanchez – “One Fish. Two Fish. Red Fish. Blue Fish… it was just National Dr. Seuss Day and like I told you, I’ve got three grand kids that I love and we all sat down and grandpa read Dr. Seuss with them and remembered there’s a lot to learn from him.
But I’m reading a couple of religious books right now that are important to me. But I am reading a book I found on Facebook that I’m really enjoying and learning a lot from,” he said. “It’s called ‘Option B’ by Sheryl Sandberg. She is someone who was going along in life and suddenly at a very young age lost her husband, and so she had to look around and consider things and she wrote an Option B.”
Candidates.vote – “Both you and your wife appear to keep busy with books in other ways as you are both educators?”
Candidate Sanchez – “Yes, right now she is the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at The University of Arizona College of Medicine. And I’m teaching macro and micro economics two days a week at the South Mountain Community College.”
Candidates.vote – “Ok. So 21 years in the Navy and now a Naval Reservist. Water and the Navy. Water pretty much everywhere for a lot of years in your life. And now. Well, now you are running in a campaign to become the mayor of a city where there is a lot of sand, cactus and Gila monsters.”
Candidate Sanchez – “In the Navy we’d lived in San Diego and after things were done there we settled in Northern California where I went to school,” he said. “But Maria is a native of Arizona and when she was offered her dream job there was no question where we were going to make our home. So in 2004 we moved to Arizona and this is home.”
Candidates.vote – “Campaigning isn’t necessarily new to you as you were elected and served on the Tempe Union High School District Governing Board. So the question of the hour is – how did your family react to you sitting them down and telling them over one of those fusion meals that you were going to be the next mayor of Phoenix?”
Candidate Sanchez – “I wouldn’t be here if Maria hadn’t said yes to it and expressed her full support to go for it,” he said, and then laughed as he said. “And, well my father. At about the same time as I was doing this he was retiring. And he’s now bought a home here in Phoenix because he said he’s not going not going to miss the chance to vote for his son for mayor.”
For more information about Moses Sanchez and his campaign – and maybe some of those Snapchat recipes – go to www.mosessanchez.com
By Clark H. Caras