Meet Paul Cunningham
Paul Cunningham is a native Arizonan and longtime community activist with 22 years of professional and volunteer public service. He is the son of former State Senator George Cunningham and lifelong Tucson advocate Margie Cunningham.
Cunningham started his career at the Ott Family YMCA located in Ward 2. He is a 12-year veteran of the Pima County Juvenile Probation Department, and served in the Army Reserve and National Guard from 1993-2001.
A 1992 graduate of Rincon High School, Paul has a B.A. in History from the University of Arizona and a Master's Degree from ASU. Councilmember Cunningham served on the Arizona Juvenile Justice Commission, the Correction Officer Retirement Local Board, has been active in volunteering with Youth on their Own, Our Family, the Pima County Probation Officers Association, National Youth Sports, the YMCA, Friends of the Library, and the Community Prevention Coalition. He and several youth founded “TEAM Tucson” (teen empowerment and advocacy movement) in 2005. He also authored a youth empowerment program, known as the “Hoop Dreams: Control Your Destiny” curriculum. He is the former president of the EL GHEKO neighborhood association.
Since being sworn into office in, Councilmember Cunningham championed preseason professional soccer as an economic development engine for Tucson. In the past two years, ties with Major League Soccer have grown and the league considers Tucson its “Western Hub.”
Councilmember Cunningham is committed to safeguarding Tucson’s greatest asset – our water supply. He championed our current water service area policy and advocated for rainwater harvesting rebates. He firmly believes that policies like these are the only way to ensure the long term viability of both our community and the precious desert we live in.
Paul was sworn in as a councilmember by his Grandmother, retired Superior Court Judge Lillian Fisher, on May 11, 2010. He was elected to a full term in November of 2011. On April 8, 2014, Paul was selected by his colleagues to be Vice Mayor. He served in that position until December of 2014. Cunningham was re-elected in 2015 where he led efforts to accelerate road construction projects in Tucson and on the Eastside. Since his first election, every major corridor in Ward 2 has had a varying degree of road repair, culminating with the East Broadway stretch at the end of 2018. In 2017, he organized the re-conditioning of Jesse Owens park. The project was completed in late 2018 and has served as a template for the improvement of other parks throughout Tucson. Cunningham also led an effort to simplify bus fares, in this past year, as Tucson’s economy grew 7% and the City Budget incurred a fund balance surplus for the first time in a decade. Cunningham also led the Council in adopting a pay adjustment for police to improve retention of officers in the department.
Paul is married to Alisa and has three sons. He currently teaches at Apollo Middle School in the Sunnyside School District.
Approachable, Passionate and Effective.
In 2012, 85% of our corridor roads rated as failing. As of 2018, that number is below 20%. Every major corridor in Ward 2 has received a substantial capital investment in the past 5 years
Paul worked to ensure public pools remained free for kids and was instrumental in the recent improvements made to Jesse Owens park. In the past 5 years, every park in Ward 2 has seen significant improvements.
A Stronger Economy
Tucson has added 30,000 jobs in the past 5 years. Paul fought for the Aerospace Corridor and worked to bring professional soccer to Tucson, attracting good-paying jobs and much needed tourism dollars.