Former Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle reflects one year after DUI arrest

MESA, AZ - "It was my choice, and it was my decision, and it wasn't a good decision."

That was former Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle almost a year ago, shortly after the DUI arrest that would later cost him his seat on the council. 

And in an exclusive interview Tuesday, he says the past year has been filled with reflection. 

"You learn lessons for reasons," he explained to ABC15.

That arrest last May was his second for DUI. Tempe police say Winkle was nearly three times the legal limit.

Winkle sought treatment and even spent a number of nights in Tent City before eventually getting voted off the council in August 2017. 

RELATED: Ryan Winkle answers questions after DUI arrest

"Immediately after, me and my wife sat down and said, ok, new strategy." 

That new strategy includes more time with his wife and 2-year-old son, pouring his heart and soul into his community planning business, Innovative Urban Solutions, and even starting a weekly support group for people facing addiction. 

Winkle is also pushing for big reforms in Mesa, even though he's no longer on the council. 

He'd like to see an ethics oversight committee, workforce development, and a citizens advisory board for police, especially in light of recent videos that surfaced. 

Mesa is where Winkle grew up. He knows he's gone from office, but says his voters haven't forgotten. 

"I still get e-mails and calls from people saying, 'Hey man! What do we do about this zoning issue?' I feel like constituents still have my back, and they always have."

Winkle says he's not ruling anything out when it comes to his political future but says, for now, he's busy supporting other candidates. 

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