Q&A: City Council candidate Rich Vitiello

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Rich Vitiello has worked in the international cycling industry for more than 25 years. He has lived in Maricopa since 2005 and is competing against Nancy Smith for the two-year Maricopa City Council term.

What would be your first action when seated? 
The first thing I will do is get sworn in and sign the Ethics Agreement. It’s important for the residents of Maricopa to have confidence that their elected officials will work for the good of the residents. Then, I’m going to dig in and get to work as there will be a lot of things on the city’s agenda for the new council. With the new council getting seated, the new budget will have to start to be drafted. Each councilmember should expect to be assigned to one or more committee assignments and I am looking forward to working with the other members to move Maricopa forward.

What is the No. 1 issue facing the city and how would you deal with it?
Everyone has a “number one” issue, and there are several. First and foremost, people need to vote. It is important that each person’s voice be heard. Whether it’s by early balloting or at the polling booth, speaking out and doing something to say to elected officials they will be held accountable is vital. I would ask that if you haven’t registered to vote, do it today, and if you already have, then please vote. There is a button that links to the Secretary of State on my website. You can register to vote there or if you have moved, change your address.

It takes a lot of people brought together to solve a myriad of issues. Completion of the 347 overpass, mitigation of the flood zone, bringing new businesses, supporting our existing businesses and jobs are all number one issues. Each city council member is only one person, and it takes all members working together to make our city move forward, as well as citizen involvement.  

Turning Maricopa from a bedroom community where people commute to their jobs to one that is vital and self-sustaining takes a lot of effort. The tasks of bringing more business and employment to Maricopa will increase our local sales tax revenue, help our local economy and contribute to our future sustainability.  

Whether it is previous flood zone mitigation efforts, which haven’t worked, or otherwise, we need to find solutions that do work. Like everything else, finding working solutions are “number one.” Maricopa is a great place to live – working together we can find ways and prepare for our future. 

What have you learned through the campaign to date?
One of the most lasting lessons my parents taught me is that life is about relationships with people. I’ve learned a lot about how our government runs – really runs – and the needs of our residents to have council members who can work together. Learning from the residents of Maricopa and getting to know them and their needs shapes our community’s vision. Helping our city move into the future is what being on city council is all about. I’m positive about our city, and my enthusiasm and commitment has only increased as the campaign has gone on. Being trusted by the voters to get elected to a position where I can help people is what this campaign is about.

Do you support MUSD’s override proposal?
I support education and the efforts to utilize taxpayer dollars so that our kids can get the best education possible. The override proposal is a personal choice for every voter and each needs to make their own decision. I will be making my personal choice in the voting booth. So will my wife, our kids and every other parent, grandparent, property owner and other person who votes.  Although the MUSD operates within our city, it’s a separate governmental entity. I like the fact that the MUSD Board has stated in writing what the money will be used for, but I don’t think that as a city council candidate I should take a stance which might influence voters on a non-city government issue.

What do you like most about your opponents?
Campaigns give voters a choice, and this campaign is no different. People need to get to know who they can trust once elected. This campaign has given voters the opportunity to see the candidates and make informed decisions. It’s important that people speak their mind and vote for the person they have confidence in to represent their interests. I am not a politician, but this is a political race. I like that my opponent has shown the voters there are options other than voting for politicians.

What do you like least about your opponents?
I value honesty and integrity. So do the residents of Maricopa. The residents of Maricopa need someone they can trust, not someone who has political agendas, speaks to a momentary sound bite, rides on someone else’s coattails, or is obligated to another elected official or special interest.  

How is the current city council doing at improving our city?
Each city council looks to do the best it can with the resources it has. Our current city council is no different, except that it appears to look not in just today’s terms of where Maricopa is, but where we will be in 10, 15, 20 and more years from now. Much of that is due to our mayor taking the lead. Many of the issues currently faced by our city today are the result of prior decisions made years ago without looking at the bigger picture of benefits as well as consequences. Many decisions (the flood zone comes to mind) were made before the city was incorporated. I believe this city council and our mayor look at both sides of issues. Good decision making will take into account not only today’s needs but their effects on tomorrow’s outcome. Many of tomorrow’s issues will be decided by the path that our current and future city councils take.

What would you do to make doing business with the city easier, if anything?
Getting to know the needs of our city’s business people and residents by being here and working with them allows me to get a better understanding of their needs. I’ve gotten to know Marla Lewis and some of our Chamber of Commerce members and look forward to getting to know more. It’s important for me to stay in touch with our residents and the business community so that I am aware of their needs. The city code governs how the city’s rules, regulations, policies and procedures are used to govern dealings with individuals and businesses. I wouldn’t hesitate to bring proposals to the city council that would improve the relationships between the residents, our business community and city government, including proposing changes to the city code if necessary.