How many of us can say that our childhood dream came true? Well, Clea McCaa can. He now takes the helm as Sierra Vista’s new mayor-elect.
While accomplishing his goal of being mayor of the hummingbird capital of Arizona, McCaa also made history as the city’s first Black mayor. In the city’s 66-year history, all the mayors have been white and only two have been women.
He said that it’s an honor and privilege to take the mayor’s seat.
“It’s kind of surreal knowing that 40-years-ago, I told Coach Truman Williamson that I wanted to be mayor of this town and now it's coming to fruition,” said McCaa. “To be the first man of color, it's a privilege knowing that others paved the way so I can be here. But then I want to also again stress that even though I'm a man of color, I'm a man for all of Sierra Vista.”
McCaa, who is a 1984 graduate of Buena High School and who served for 30 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a colonel, said that his desire to run for mayor stemmed from a simple question: what do you want to be when you grow up?
“And when he asked me, I looked around and I said ‘I want to be mayor of this town,’” McCaa recalled. “And Mr. Williamson, coach Williamson looks at me and is like, ‘son, are you serious?’ I was like, ‘yes sir, I'm serious.’ You know, kind of got a couple laughs, but that's when to me I say ‘I want to run this town. I want to govern this town.’
And govern he will, as he ran a campaign that was focused on stimulating the local economy, improving infrastructure, mobilizing youth and the workforce, providing support to local businesses, and also prioritizing the needs of first responders and firefighters.
He said the first thing he wants to address as mayor is road infrastructure, specifically potholes.
When it comes to the economy, McCaa said he wants to bring more jobs into Sierra Vista.
“Fort Huachuca is the biggest economic provider, but we need those — we need those $70,000-$80,000 dollar job coming back into Sierra Vista, so we can pour into our community,” He said.
In regards to assisting local business owners, McCaa said that he wants to continue to reach out via his Walk On Wednesday social media campaign that highlights local businesses. He also wants to address the needs of these businesses.
“I know the manager, I know the owner,” said McCaa. “I want to have that real conversation: what are their needs? What are—what keeps them up at night? And I want to take that on … If it keeps them up at night, as the mayor, I need to understand. ‘Okay, this is what they need. What resources are available so that I can meet their needs?’”
McCaa is a community man; he’s a pastor at Sierra Vista 1st Church of God in Christ, owner of Co-Owner of 3D Management & Consulting LLC (3DMC), and Co-Owner of Cyber Electronic Warfare Intelligence LLC (CEWI) with his wife Ramona.
McCaa is also the Founder/President of Sierra Vista Dream Center, a 501c3 youth after-school program, which collaborated with Sierra Vista 1st church in assembling and distributing 150 frozen turkeys and Thanksgiving dinner food boxes for those in need three days before the holiday. He regularly gives out food boxes once a month in Fry Town, a census area that’s since been surrounded by the city’s West End.
“We usually walk Fry Town, usually run once every once every month, handing out food,” said McCaa. “So I see this, I see this constantly and I know it … I got to help because they're, they’re our citizens … They're God's people and we need to help God's people.”
He said that giving back to the community is, “It's just my DNA. I learned it from my father and mother; they always gave back. And I feel empty when I don't give and don't reach out. I think it will always be part of me, even in the mayor’s seat. I don't like, I don't like for someone to go without. And if I can help them, I know that they will get support. And I wanted to show examples to my children. I want to show examples to my church, my community, that you have to, you must give back to the community so that we can all be strong.”
McCaa win is notable across several margins; according to U.S. Census estimates, Sierra Vista is predominantly white — about 74% white to be exact — followed by 24% being Latino/HIspanic, 8.5% being Black/African American, 4% being Asian/Pacific Islander and 1% being Native American. Considering that Cochise County is a republican strong-hold and Sierra Vistians elected a democratic mayor, beliefs seem to be shifting in the mountain view city.
At the end of the day, McCaa said that “Sierra Vista means the world to me …This is where I raised my children, this where I was educated, this is where my church is, this where my family is. And we just love Sierra Vista … We love every inch of Sierra Vista, and that's why we want to make it better. If you love a town, you will make it better. And that's what we're gonna do.”