Newsroom | Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord Leaves Local, Regional Legacy

MAG News

Just months before she passed away on Dec.12, 2021, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord played a key role in putting the final pieces in place for the MOMENTUM long range transportation plan and the investment strategy for the proposed extension of Proposition 400.

Goodyear, Mayor

Just months before she passed away on Dec. 12, 2021, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord played a key role in putting the final pieces in place for the MOMENTUM long range transportation plan and the investment strategy for the proposed extension of Proposition 400.

“Mayor Lord suggested extending the tax for 25 years, which provided the additional revenue to include all of State Route 30 in the long-range transportation plan,” said Maricopa Association of Governments Executive Director Eric Anderson. “It was the solution needed to get unanimous support for the plan, which includes an investment strategy through 2050. Her legacy will live on well into the future,” he said.

First Female Mayor for Goodyear

Mayor Lord began her career in local government when she was elected to the Goodyear City Council in 2005. She became the mayor of Goodyear in 2011, a position she held until her passing. Lord was the first female mayor to be elected in the city.

“It didn’t occur to me initially, and even until after the election, that I would be the first female mayor of the city of Goodyear,” Lord was quoted as saying in a city press release. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate to Goodyear’s young women that anything is possible.”

An Interview With MAG

In 2012, shortly after becoming mayor, Lord sat down with MAG communication staff for a Regional Council profile for the MAG newsletter, “MAGAZine.” In the interview, Lord described her life living in countries around the world as the military wife of an Air Force fighter pilot turned diplomat, before finding a permanent home in the city of Goodyear.

“I am passionate about my city,” said Mayor Lord. “My husband and I moved 22 times during my 24 years of his 30-year military career. I have never been planted anywhere where I could make a difference in a city. I find it very exciting and rewarding to be able to have a time in my life where I can devote a great deal of attention to something I believe in. And I believe in Goodyear and the advancement of Goodyear.”

Lord’s official entry into politics came when she was tapped to serve as chair of the Goodyear City Center Technical Advisory Committee to craft a downtown strategy for Goodyear. As a former sales representative and part-time trainer for a national builder, Lord had experience in creating “high-quality, attractive communities from raw land all the way through to built developments.” After serving on the City Center Advisory Committee for several years, Lord decided that becoming active on the Goodyear City Council was her best hope of seeing the strategy implemented.

“I really love the team-building of the city council,” said Lord. “I like bringing people together. I like being able to encourage them to speak their mind and to be creative and develop avenues of progress for our city. We don’t always agree on everything, but we are able to compromise, build consensus and come together for the needs of Goodyear’s citizens.”

A Role for a Lifetime

Lord said that her role in politics was one that in many ways she had prepared for her entire life. Her mother was active in politics and brought daughter Georgia along to numerous conventions. The family often spent their vacations with the family of Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams on Mackinac Island.

“It is very interesting to see the contrast of some things that keep crossing my life. I guess my mother prepared me and I didn’t realize it at the time,” noted the mayor.

Georgia Lord attending an embassy eventSoon, she married Ron Lord, an Air Force colonel whose career expanded into foreign service. The Lords were given diplomatic duty in Bonn, Germany, where Lord learned to speak fluent German. She served as vice chair to the Ladies International Society and often assisted the embassy with assignments. One assignment was on the more unusual side—running an International Fashion Show of American “readywear” (clothing that is premanufactured rather than custom made).

“We took this show to Belgium, England and to surrounding countries. Really it was part of an economic development program, because at that time retail in Germany did not have readywear. At each of the shows, we had a number of international people in the audience who were there to learn about that aspect of fashion.”

She Was an International Model Before She Became a Local One

Lord modestly admitted that she also worked as an international model. She said that traveling across Europe with a German troupe also helped hone her communication and people skills.

“We would go from city to city to do shows, and I was able to meet the Bürgermeisters, the mayor of each city. And I would take time to drive around and see these small villages and some larger cities, so it was a great learning opportunity,” she said.

After Germany, the Lords moved to the Netherlands and then to the Far East. Lord finds it ironic that her first exposure to a city council came in Okinawa, Japan, where she was asked to teach English to local city council members.

“I had never attended a city council meeting before in the states, so it is ironic that my first experience with city government was in Japan. I guess God had the path for me, and here I am,” she says.

Lord was a frequent contributor to the Don’t Trash Arizona litter education campaign. For three years in a row (2015-2017), she spent a shift working the drive-thru window at Whataburger passing out litter education materials during a partnership with the fast food chain.

Dancing With the Stars

Georgia Lord with her Dancing with the Stars partner Andrew Blackburne at Pebble CreekLord’s favorite hobbies included competitive tennis, leisure golf and even tap dancing, which she gave up to pursue her mayoral commitments. However, at the time of the interview she had recently danced in a local competition of “Dancing With the Stars.” After training in a “Cha-Cha Disco” dance with a professional partner for a week—“Oh, I could hardly walk when I was finished!”—she performed in the show. At age 73, she was the oldest dancer to participate.

“I didn’t win, but I made it through the performance without falling down!” she laughed. “I wanted to do it because I haven’t had the opportunity to do anything (of a more entertaining nature) in my community recently, where I can be personally involved. It was a delight.”

As well as being a strong advocate for her city, Lord was a strong advocate for the entire region, including service on the MAG Regional Council and Transportation Policy Committee, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council Board of Directors, League of Arizona Cities Executive Committee, Luke Forward, and Luke West Valley Council.

Mayor Lord is survived by four children, four grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.

Published December 13, 2021