Nate Riley (D, WFP) for Cicero Town Councilor

Why I’m Running

I’m an attorney that has worked my entire career serving working people. When I came to Cicero 5 years ago, I set to work for the disabled who could no longer work and could not afford to pay an attorney. I fought for and won their disability appeals in federal court for 3 years. Today, I serve poor people in Onondaga County who can’t afford an attorney on appeal.

I’ve worked for the poorest among us not because they deserved or expected a hand out, but because they needed someone’s hand to help them back up. I believe in the ability of every American to change their circumstances for the better if we give them a fair shake. If each client has someone on their side, someone lifting them back up from the side of the road, they can dust themselves off and get themselves back on track to wherever they want to go.

I began my career as a staff attorney to a judge in Chicago working to curb the political patronage! I knew what it felt like to be a political outsider who isn’t connected to the right people and can’t get a job. I wanted to work to make sure others didn’t suffer that same fate.

In Syracuse, I believed in fighting for disabled kids, parents, and veterans, because I have family members that have personally benefitted from a society with a strong social safety net. I believe in fighting to protect the civil rights of the poor because if my colleagues and I don’t take that job fighting for them, no one else will, and they need someone to fight for them.

I got into this race because we need to change our course in the Town of Cicero.

I couldn’t stand by idly while the current Town Board voted on a 2019 budget that included a pay raise for themselves. I couldn’t fathom why no one in the Democratic Party could get onto the Ethics Board when it had a vacancy last year. By law, the Ethics Board must have no more than 2 members from any political party, and today it has ZERO Democrats on it. I couldn’t abide a plan to expand the Planning Board from 5 to 7 members solely so the Venesky (R) – Cushman (R) Town Board could seize more power from this important and independent board despite Planning Board members themselves opposing the proposal.

We can change all of this. I am proposing we adopt a 27th Amendment for the Town of Cicero that says our Town Board members can’t vote to give themselves raises with your tax dollars. This law, similar to the federal constitution, will state that no salary increase shall take effect until an election has occurred, so no member of the board will ever vote to give themselves a raise. If we don’t want to give anyone a raise, we have the opportunity to vote them out! I want to thank Councilors Jonathan Karp (R) and Judy Boyke (D) for voting against last year’s budget that included those pay increases!

I also want to fix the appointment process for the Planning Board by creating a merit-based system for appointees to ensure that only qualified people get these important jobs. It has always been a political appointment, but we can and should change this.

I want to fix the Ethics Board to have a permanent member of the Democratic party, a permanent member of the Republican party, a permanent registered Independent, and a permanent voter registered to no party. The final remaining slot should be filled by third parties (conservatives, independence, working families, etc.) on a rotating basis., thereby ensuring fairness and an Ethics Board free from politics.

But the biggest problem we face is fiscal. Taxes go up yet we don’t fix basic infrastructure issues like potholes. I can’t stand that we only budget to pave less than 5 miles of road every year. This results in ankle twisting, suspension ruining, accident causing potholes on so many of our streets. We can dramatically reduce potholes by budgeting to fix the problem. I want to stop spending money on this budget behemoth of a highway garage that is currently $1.4M over budget with no end in sight. Let’s finish the project immediately so we can instead invest in our infrastructure and beautification of our town through the Highway and Parks Departments.

I hope I will have your support in the coming months because without you none of this will change. I am just a single, frustrated voter, but with your help, I can be the fresh, young face to break through the old guard protecting politics as usual in Cicero!

I need your active participation to make change in Cicero a reality.

I’ve already knocked on many doors and intend to knock on thousands more between now and Election Day on November 5. Please join me by knocking on doors, creating content, and getting the word out about the campaign! I consider it a great honor to have been endorsed and nominated by the Democratic Party and Working Families Party. Now I begin the work of earning every vote.

Thank you.