Opinion
February 24, 2016

Why am I running for Alderman?

By Jim Riley

My name is Jim Riley and I am running to serve on the Rutland City Board of Aldermen to be involved in our beautiful, friendly and historic city. I am looking for an opportunity to work for the benefit of our children, neighbors and the Rutland community at large. I want to be involved, and bring my education, enthusiasm, experience, and love for our community with a willingness to take in all available information with an open mind before voting on the issues before the Board of Aldermen.

As a homeowner, I am concerned about Rutland’s reputation as a city. I’d like to make positive change happen, and as a person with broadcast, print, and multi-media marketing experience, I know that perception is everything. We can turn things around for the better. Rutland and the surrounding area has a lot to offer!

As a former U.S. Army Engineer officer, I see the importance of infrastructure and the need to maintain and fix sidewalks, roads, and bridges for safety, appearance, and to promote Rutland as an attractive destination for new businesses, young professional residents and visitors alike.

As a father of four children, two still at home—one in Rutland High School, the other at Rutland Intermediate—I value our children’s educational opportunities and understand that this is the future for our families, for the city, and for our ability to attract employers, so we can improve our citizens’ quality of life.

In today’s economic environment so many constituents and families need help just to meet their day-to-day needs. I saw this as I gathered petition signatures to get on the ballot. So many of our friends and neighbors, business owners, and employees opened up their hearts to me about their frustrations, hopes and problems. It was so touching.

I, Jim Riley, want to be someone our people can come to, talk with, and to be their advocate in the Board of Aldermen, because most people can’t attend board meetings, yet need their voices to be heard.

We need someone to promote and protect our civil/voting rights and encourage participation in city government. There are people who believe that they can’t participate, that they can’t vote, that they don’t have a voice in the process. This is part of the anger and frustration we are seeing in political party discourse across the nation. I, Jim Riley, want to let the people know that they can, that they have an advocate and that we want to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

As a former federal agent (criminal investigator) with a Master of Science degree in criminal justice, I am very concerned about our population with drug related offenses on their records. Our citizens are looking for decent work, looking for an education, looking for safe streets, and looking for representation in our city government. Therefore, how do we help reduce costly recidivism and reintegrate people back into our society? How do we help people find work to support their families and change their lives? I believe that we can make a difference, we can help people, make our streets safer, and change some lives for the better!

Studies have shown that when a person with a record (of any kind) checks a box on an application (being honest) that asks if they have ever been arrested for, or ever been convicted of a crime, employers stop looking at or considering that person for a job. From flipping burgers to washing dishes and jobs in between, employers are forced to ask, because they can and they have a fiduciary and safety responsibility to ask and discriminate against many of our citizens just trying to do what is right and support their families.

If elected, I will ask the Board of Aldermen to consider joining many cities, counties and states across America who are adopting fair hiring policies and “banning the box” on job applications, so that employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a conviction record. This can reduce recidivism, reduce costs in crime, victimization, and welfare, and help many of our citizens reintegrate into our society and become productive members of the Rutland community.

Over the years I have been involved with many non-profit organizations. In our last hometown, I served on the board of directors of the local Boys and Girls Club, and the Galilee Community Development Corporation. I have served as the treasurer of the local Elks lodge, and as a member of the Lions Club. I volunteered with the Red Cross as a disaster assistance team member. And here in Rutland, I’ve served as a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish council.

I am a U.S. Army veteran who has served as an enlisted man and officer with command experience. I’ve lived in South Korea, Europe, and all over the United States.

I am originally from Chicago; my wife, Cristina Riley, is originally from Mexico City, Mexico. Now we live in Rutland City with our two youngest children, Dolores Christina Rosemary and Joseph (Joey) Edward James Riley.

I believe in representational leadership based on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and principles that our country was founded upon. I would like you to consider voting for Jim Riley to serve on the Rutland Board of Aldermen. We may not always agree, but I will strive to listen to all our citizens and residents. I want to work hard to earn your vote and confidence.

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