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Rich Vitiello

By Rich Vitiello

Since this will probably be my last campaign editorial before election day, please let me remind you of some of the differences between myself and the incumbent. Firstly, I haven’t lied, deceived or told any half-truths and don’t intend to, either. Any claims or statements that I’ve made in my campaign have been based on factual research. I’ve run an honest campaign.

Where folks wanted to get to know me and hear my views on a subject, they got it. I haven’t couched anything behind political double-talk, deception or evasion. I believe in transparent, open and honest government. Where I have presented issues, I based them on factual research, not something conjured up out of a rumor mill. I don’t base my opinions on speculation – I look for the facts and try to understand the issues as best I can. Where I have an opinion, it’s clearly that – my opinion.

I look forward to hearing others’ opinions, as well. Casting an opinion in stone before all the facts are in can be a dangerous proposition. I respect others for their opinions. I’m willing to hear what others have to say and look forward to learning more. It’s the right thing to do.

I’ve run my own campaign. Although campaign donations are nice (and I thank the folks who donated), I’ve funded the majority of my campaign out of my own pocket. I don’t owe anyone anything, especially out of county attorneys, their clients or developers. I’m in this race to represent the people who live here, not to do the bidding of out-of-area campaign donors. Once elected, I’m not going to tailor my vote to suit some campaign donor. My integrity means too much for me to sell out.

I am grateful for the endorsement and friendship I have developed with Sheriff Babeu. Contrary to what some others might say, he’s a great guy and a good friend to have. As he is running for a congressional seat, he won’t be our county’s sheriff next year, but my wish is that he succeeds in his election bid.

With this new board, and the folks I’ve come to get to know in the Sheriff’s Office and other Pinal County departments, I will work hard as part of a team. The loss of the ICE contract put the county budget in the hole by some $10 million; if we can get that contract back, it will help a long way to allowing our county to move forward with restaffing public safety positions that are open and doing the things our government needs to do.

I’m going to look for other ways to streamline our county government and stretch the taxpayer dollar. I don’t like fiscal waste and will do everything I can to make sure your tax money is used efficiently.

I don’t believe in grandstanding and taking credit for things that I don’t do. If an idea is brought to my attention that would make government run smoother or more efficiently, I will be happy to give credit where credit is due. People are one of our most valuable resources, and with everyone working together as a team, more can be accomplished. I want to see good things happen.

There are only so many hours in the day, and time is limited. I know that I will have to allocate my time according to priorities, but my priorities will always be what is best for the people in Pinal County, specifically District 4. Going to out-of-county meetings where the supervisor can mingle and strut around like a proud peacock is not an efficient use of time. I’ll look into attending certain events by video conference or other means as much as possible (after all, what’s the Internet for?). I’m looking forward to doing, being proactive in resolving issues, not just talking about them.

There are a lot of issues that have been raised during the campaign, including public safety, the flood zone, business development, marijuana and other things. I will do my best to distinguish myself by being true to my word. After all, provided I get elected, you will be my boss and you will judge my performance.

I will have an open door policy. My cell phone number is (480) 358-8051. I don’t intend on changing it. I plan on having regular website updates and hours at the Sheriff’s substations in Saddlebrooke and Arizona City. The office in Maricopa will also be open on a regular basis. Folks can come in, have a cup of coffee, and discuss what’s on their minds. If folks can’t make it during business hours, I’ll make arrangements to meet with them. It’s important that people connect, and the only way to do that is by both parties making an effort. I promise I’ll do my part.

I’ll say it again: I’m looking forward to a brighter future. I hope you are, too. I promise to work hard for you. Please vote for Rich Vitiello for Pinal County Supervisor. It’s time for a change.

Rich Vitiello is a candidate for Pinal County supervisor in District 4 and a Maricopa resident.

Incumbent Anthony Smith (left) faces off with Rich Vitiello in this year's Republican Primary in the race for Pinal County Board of Supervisors District 4.
Name: Anthony Smith
Age: 63
Hometown: Too many moves. Maricopa has my heart.
Residence: Maricopa
Years in District: 13
Family: Nancy (wife), five grown children in blended family with seven grandchildren
Education: Bachelor of Science, Purdue University
Professional background: Project Management Professional

Why are you running?
Pinal County is the first in the state to recover all jobs lost to the recession. We have cut our unemployment rate in half and increased our annual job growth rate to an amazing 5.6 percent. If re-elected, I will continue this path to prosperity and position us for even greater growth.

What are the biggest problems facing Pinal County?
1. The majority of our workers leave the county each day to work in another county, making for an unsustainable economy. The good news is that we have a pipeline of new capital investments greater than $16 billion. As an active partner with the City of Maricopa’s leadership team, we coordinate our economic development efforts for the purpose of landing more jobs in Maricopa or within a short commute.

2. Our network of roads is congested and incapable of sustaining anticipated population growth. To ensure future growth, I’ve partnered with Maricopa and others on critical projects such as the 347 overpass, widening SR 347 from 4 to 6 lanes and actively involved in planning for the new Interstate 11.

3. Our county’s financial health has suffered from the effects of the great recession, bad contracts approved by the previous board and millions of dollars swept annually by the state to balance their budget. In the past three years, we’ve taken huge steps to regain our fiscal health by reducing the size of county government to match a post-recession economy, renegotiated or cancelled bad contracts and lived within a balanced budget. If re-elected, I will demand we continue these sound fiscal policies and actions.

How will you use your position to bolster economic development in District 4?
The pipeline of projects I mentioned earlier could add approximately 6,000 new jobs all within a 40 minute drive from Maricopa and located in Pinal County. I’ll continue working to ensure we land as many of these new projects as possible and help make Maricopa a major job market.

How do you foresee the Board of Supervisors dealing with the state 1-percent cap?
The 1-percent cap is a limit provided to residential property owners to protect them from excessive taxation. I’m against a fix that shifts the tax burden to sales or secondary property taxes. My idea is to focus on reducing the tax rate by rewarding taxing authorities that lower their tax rate and penalizing those that raise their tax rate.

How will you gauge District 4’s opinions of issues while in office?
To hear from our citizens and solve problems, I hold meetings in five areas of District 4. By going directly to the people, I believe I deliver a higher level of service. I will continue to listen and represent the concerns of constituents making sound decisions that benefit all District 4.

What personal traits do you possess that make you the best person to be District 4 supervisor?
In the decades that I spent in the project management profession, I learned the importance of being accountable, action-oriented and doing what you say you will do. I used these same principles when I was mayor of the City of Maricopa and continue to use them today as your county supervisor.

Come to the Primary Debate June 18. Click here for details.

Name: Rich Vitiello
Age: 51
Hometown: Massapequa Park, New York
Residence: Maricopa
Years in District: 11
Family: Wife Joann Vitiello, mother Ann Vitiello, four daughters and sons-in-law, six grandchildren
Education: Farmingdale (N.Y.) High School
Professional background: Sales, marketing and product management. Retired after 27 years in worldwide sales and marketing for the sporting goods and cycling industry; now employed with AutoNation Honda in Chandler.

Why are you running?
I am concerned with the current supervisor’s approach to issues. I want to be sure that my children and grandchildren are not burdened with debts that cannot be repaid because of political mismanagement. Change is needed to improve on what we have to move forward into the future successfully.

What are the biggest problems facing Pinal County?
1. Public safety. Our sheriff’s office, county attorney and other public safety resources are underfunded and understaffed. We are losing people and not being able to fill positions due to budget cuts and other issues. An across-the-board budget cut is not the proper way to be fiscally responsible with the taxpayer’s money. I would work with each department to look at their budget to help eliminate wasteful spending.

2. Economic development. We have a flawed system for economic development – our neighbors to the north and south have been successful in attracting and retaining business enterprises. We need to take a page out their playbook and work with other business groups, foundations and agencies to improve our situation.

3. Flood control. Homeowners should not be burdened with increased insurance and other costs due to their desire to live in our county. There are several different agencies working separately on flood control concerns. The county should have a coordinated effort to effectively work with all agencies so that tasks may be streamlined and costs may be lowered.CandidateDebateFlier

How will you use your position to bolster economic development in District 4?
I will utilize my 27 years of international business experience to seek out and work with others to advance prospects for business expansion and relocation. I look forward to working as part of a team with business groups, foundations and agencies to bring more jobs to Pinal County.

How do you foresee the Board of Supervisors dealing with the state 1-percent cap?
The cities and counties need to work with the state Legislature for a working consensus to make efforts to balance the state budget without deficits being placed upon the backs of local governments. Without a resolution, the services provided under the current and future budgets will have to be examined harshly for adjustments or cuts.

How will you gauge District 4’s opinions of issues while in office?
I plan to meet with residents at the existing county-owned facilities or at community meeting rooms within the district on a regular basis. My personal stand on issues is tempered by the needs of my constituents. I will listen to my constituents for their input remembering that I am their representative.

What personal traits do you possess that make you the best person to be District 4 supervisor?
I believe in doing the right thing for my family and community. I believe that government needs to be transparent and we need honest representatives who will use their position for good and not be self-serving. I believe that I have the personal integrity to be the effective, honest representative of District 4.

This story appeared in the June issue of InMaricopa.