By Christian Price
Election time is here again.
And today I write to you as a private citizen. I understand that politics elicits very strong feelings in many of us and there are very few ways around that. But if there is one thing that I have learned from the time I spent as Mayor, it is: Your local government matters more than you know! Perhaps in some instances even more than the state or federal government. Here’s why: Of course, your city government isn’t going to raise an army, nor can they print money, but what our local government does, affects our everyday lives.
Our City of Maricopa government helps plan for, fund and pave the local roadways (unless owned and operated by ADOT, in our case). They fund and manage the local police and fire forces. They provide the parks, recreation and services that we have all come to love and enjoy and so much more. In short, they help our daily lives go round.
If the many essential services and operations that local governments provide matter, then the people you elect to make sure your voices are represented in those arenas, also greatly matter. While we are all going to have our individual thoughts on why we should or shouldn’t vote for a given candidate, I thought I would take a moment and express mine.
As a potential member of the elected City Council, these candidate citizens are our neighbors and members of the Maricopa community first and foremost. When elected they are compensated on a VERY “part-time basis,” so they must work to survive (unless retired) and often own or run businesses. They work here, play here and live here. They travel throughout the city and up the 347 every day, just like you and I do. They do their best to attend every event, they return every phone call, they meet with every constituent possible the day will allow … to address and resolve concerns. They answer social media questions and attend hordes of meetings on your behalf, so that they can fully represent you and your city’s interests before the county, the state and the federal governments.
The job of a City Council member is incredibly time-consuming and complex. The amount of information and topics to consume, learn about, and deal with proficiently and legally, is overwhelmingly immense! To be truly successful on your behalf in this position, it takes individuals who are willing to sacrifice their families, their relationships, their time, their sleep, and even set aside their own full-time job – not only after they are elected, but long before – by attending events, helping people and attending all the meeting topics possible in order to learn all they can, for and on behalf of the community they say they want to serve. This is a critical foundational principle in order to subsequently make the very best decisions for the short, medium and long-term success for the people of Maricopa.
This is exactly what I see in three of our City Council race participants: Vince Manfredi, Rich Vitiello and Henry Wade.
Vince Manfredi has lived in Maricopa since 2010. He is a local, small-business owner and volunteers with many local nonprofits. He was the chairman of the Maricopa Unified School District budget override committee and named the school district’s “Best of the Best” volunteer of the year in 2017!
As a current member of City Council, he serves as a member of the Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority; Central Arizona Governments Regional Council; the Arizona League of Cities and Towns Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Works Committee; and the Rural Transportation Advisory Council. Vince continues to work on critical projects for Maricopa regarding transportation and economic development.
Rich Vitiello moved to Maricopa in 2005 and immediately became a volunteer with our police department, the citizen-led 2040 Vision Committee and the City Council-appointed Board of Adjustments. As a long-time international businessperson, Rich understands the unique needs of our business community, and he uses that knowledge as he manages a local small business to help make them more successful and hire local citizens. Together with his wife, JoAnne Vitiello, a board-certified nurse practitioner, they also own a local medical practice that provides badly needed care here in Maricopa. Together they are growing Maricopa and creating jobs in our city!
And, Henry Wade. He moved to Maricopa in 2008 and got right to work serving our community. He is the co-founder and past president of the Arizona Association of Real Estate Brokers and former board member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. Henry was also the founding chair of the National Political Action Committee and is a former vice chair of the City of Maricopa Planning and Zoning Commission. Wade has more than 30 years of real estate experience in the Phoenix metro area and is currently the director of housing counseling services for Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. Henry specializes in helping those that need housing direction and assistance.
Maricopa, our future is at stake and the choice is clear. Won’t you join me in voting for Vincent Manfredi, Rich Vitiello and Henry Wade – either by early (municipal) ballot or on Election Day, Aug. 2.
Former mayor, City of Maricopa
Editor’s note: Vincent Manfredi is an owner of InMaricopa.