Public service runs in Joan Krueger's family.
The Gilbert Town Council incumbent, who's hoping to win another term on the council in March, said she draws inspiration from her father, a district attorney in Wisconsin, and her brother, who was born with brain damage.
"Volunteerism and community leadership has been part of my life since I was a kid," she said.
In high school, she organized a county chapter of the Youth Association for Retarded Citizens.
Talking with those who know Krueger, who turns 51 in April, her service as a councilwoman provided an outlet for her compassion.
"(She's) somebody who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of the town," said Walter Rogers, Krueger's friend and a former healthcare lobbyist in the Colorado Legislature.
Krueger served on Gilbert's Planning and Zoning Commission from 1999 to 2005. She also serves on the board of directors of the East Valley Partnership and leads the town's Vision 2020 task force, which asks residents how they want the town to develop over the next 20 years.
She has endorsements from Councilman Les Presmyk, former Mayor Cynthia Dunham and the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Krueger said economic development and growth are the top issues in her campaign.
She summarizes her platform with the words, "homes, families, jobs."
Still she said she's focusing on making sure other issues don't fall by the wayside. One of those is the maintenance of older neighborhoods established before the town mandated homeowners' associations in new developments.
She said the maintenance is being carried out by the town in about 20 designated neighborhood improvement districts.
"My community (her neighborhood) here is 11 or 12 years old and we're having crumbling sidewalks and over the years vegetation has died," she said. "So, it's going to be a matter of communicating with HOA's and ensuring that they have what they need to keep their neighborhoods in good shape. It's going to mean street maintenance. It's going to mean, in some cases, making sure that our water and sewer lines are at peak efficiency."
Quality of life and public safety are also important topics for Krueger.
"It's ensuring that they've (residents) got things like parks (and) the Boys and Girls Club," she said.
Still, Krueger said the town needs to find ways to deal with future budget shortfalls before considering tax increases, and that may include closing parks temporarily or curtailing other services or programs
She pointed to the money the town is spending for the Fourth of July celebration as an example of an expenditure that could be cut.
"I want fireworks as much as the next person, but I also want to balance the budget," she said. "Right now, we spend $350,000 on events in this town. I think that we need to take a strong look at that."
The prospect that Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport could close is something that she says terrifies her.
"I think it's incumbent upon us ... to let (ASU president) Dr. Crow and our legislators and our governor know how important this is to the continued development and economic stability of the East Valley," she said.