Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Campaign Within: A Mayor's Private Journey To Public Leadership by Neil Giuliano

Reveiwer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine 
Publisher: Magnus Books, July 2012
Pages: 280

Neil Giuliano grew up in a close-knit Italian-American family in New Jersey, where he witnessed the successes and defeats of his father in local politics. A leadership role in high school and college eventually led Neil to seek public office in Tempe, Arizona, where he attended Arizona State University. He became a councilman, and later vice mayor, before being elected as mayor of that growing city in 1994. 

During his second two-year term as mayor, Neil faced increasing pressure to come out as a gay man, which he did, becoming the first openly-gay mayor of a city that size. The revelation was no big deal to most of his constituents, though his opponents saw it as an opportunity to claim he had a "gay agenda" on several occasions. After ten years (four terms, the last of which was four years) of service, and surviving a recall election, he decided not to run again, and embarked on a career as a consultant for non-profit organizations. 

This is a well-written memoir, limited in scope, dealing mostly with his public persona and private battles toward self-acceptance as a gay man, a process that started in his childhood, but took almost 40 years. The author is honest about mistakes made along the way, and acknowledges his accomplishments with significant humility. Interesting read, which I give five stars out of five.

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