An economic-development strategist, Gallego defeated Rev. Warren Stewart in a contentious race that first went to voters in late August, and then ended in a runoff Tuesday. She will be the first woman to represent District 8 in South Phoenix.
"I'm excited that we made a small piece of history in Phoenix last night," she said.
The "race card" came into play shortly after early ballots for the August election were sent out, but despite almost unanimous advice from those around her, Gallego, wife of State Rep. Ruben Gallego, opted not to respond to it.
"We stayed focused on the actual issues face District 8," she said. "We stayed positive, talking about my experience, my background and my ideas …. The voters seem to have rewarded us."
One of her priorities is extending the Light Rail into District 8.
"There's an area just south of downtown where only 22 percent of people have a car," she explained. "These are people who will use the Light Rail on a daily basis. … It's disappointing that South Phoenix was left off the first Light Rail map, but we'll be working very hard to change that."
Another goal is to promote and preserve South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the country. Gallego described it as a "gem."
Gallego will represent District 8 for a four-year-term.