Educational background: Bachelorette in Business Communications from W.P Carey School of Business; Graduate of the Objectivist Academic Center.
Current employer/job: Arizona Free Enterprise Club/ director of communications and government relations
Immediate family: Not married, no kids. My immediate family is my parents Dow and Lisa Rigler, siblings: Amanda (sister) and Todd Patrie (brother in law,) Dustin (brother) and Jessica (sister in law) Rigler, and April Rigler (sister.)
Year you moved to Gilbert: 2001
Last book read: “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Italo Calvino
Why are you running for or seeking another term on Town Council?
I am running Gilbert Town Council because I believe my background in policy development as well as community devotion will be a positive asset to the position. I want to help elevate the Town’s culture to better serve taxpayers, residents, and businesses.
Why should voters consider you?
I bring fresh enthusiasm to Town governance, a thoughtful understanding of public policy, and the experience “in the trenches” of helping taxpayers navigate bureaucracy. I’m passionate about ensuring Gilbert builds trust with residents and businesses by setting policies that are inherently fair, are inclusive of their input, and fiscally sustainable.
How can the Town Council promote commercial-residential balance in Gilbert?
The Town’s General Plan provides a template and guideline for a balance and mix of residential and commercial uses. Soliciting as much feedback in this once-every-decade process is important, but so is being flexible enough to stay attuned to interim changes and making requisite adjustments. Additionally, adhering to predictable zoning standards is also important in achieving that balance. Lastly, aside from these two basic and general approaches, leaving as much of the specifics to the free market to determine will achieve a better equilibrium than what centralized planning can achieve. Development, when devoid of centralized incentives that tend to create distortions in market behavior, is better in touch and naturally responds to what people want and need.
Gilbert has several large public projects in the works, including Gilbert Regional Park and the public safety training facility. How should the town approach paying for these types of projects?
Voters will have the opportunity to vote on paying for these projects through General Obligation Bonds, i.e. through debt-financing. If the voters reject these projects I believe the town should reevaluate how they move forward with the community’s input. Often government spends money planning wonderful projects they believe the citizens want – because they “asked” them. However, the initial plan did not include what the project would cost, and increased taxes or debt citizens would incur as a result. I believe the Town should very critically prioritize their spending, especially on capital projects, based upon the very greatest need with significant consideration of ongoing costs to maintain and operate. With restrain on spending, the Town should be able to pay for many of these by savings, which they do in many cases. That should be the first option rather than taking out bonds and incurring more debt.
What role should public funds play in the redevelopment of the Heritage District moving forward?
The Heritage District has been enjoyed a great deal of growth and success in the past decade. With that success has come some challenges. Public funds are needed and should be used going forward to improve the infrastructure in the downtown. This includes alleviating traffic congestion by building out feeder streets and thoroughfares and ensuring there are safe walkways and crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists especially in harmony with the railroads. Additionally, the Town needs to continue to invest in public safety that involves the input and contributions of the residents and businesses in the downtown. They are our partners; they have the pulse day-to-day in the Heritage District and should be empowered. My family and I owned a gift store in Gilbert and for several years we operated in a struggling plaza without an anchor store. As a result, crime shot up as did transient traffic. We were public safety’s greatest asset in making sure our pocket of the town was safe by being proactive and working hand in hand with law enforcement.
What is the biggest challenge facing Gilbert over the next five years?
Gilbert’s biggest challenge will be keeping up with infrastructure needs – both from a finalizing infrastructure for buildout as well as revitalizing aging infrastructure in north and central Gilbert. We will need to make sure that our desires for so many public luxuries do not balloon into unsustainable maintenance costs that then require a tax increase in the community. The more projects that require us to incur debt to build represent even greater costs to continue to maintain in the future. In other words – Gilbert is an affluent thriving community and the economy is good – we can’t allow these factors to encourage out of control spending.
What are your three primary goals if you are elected?
- Develop an organizational culture of trustworthiness with taxpayers, residents, and businesses. We should be able to shock citizens with how easy, transparent and accountable their local government is. (Process improvement for residents and businesses is a byproduct of this.) Control spending so Gilbert can maintain low taxes. 3. Prioritize Gilbert’s spending to ensure infrastructure needs are met.
‘Expect thoughtful, fair and compassionate leadership’
By Aimee Rigler
The taxpayers of Gilbert can expect thoughtful, fair and compassionate leadership from me as a council member.
I have always had a passion for fighting for the unrepresented and a deep conviction that everyone should be treated fairly and consistently by their government. I co-founded an organization in 2008 called the Gilbert Small Business Alliance.
For seven years, we united many people under the banner that our town could do better in creating an environment conducive to the success of small businesses. We never financially gained from this mission – and our efforts were tireless and without notoriety. It was pick-and-shovel work, really.
And that is the stuff of good public policy. It isn’t ribbon cuttings, ground breakings, and photo-ops. It is attention to the details. It is thoughtful examination. It is reasonable and rational scrutiny married with a greater vision, compassion, love for our community and a dash of idealism.
And that is me to my core.
I want to serve on Town Council because I enjoy the work of good public policy and I believe I am good at it. I also believe that our talents and gifts should be used to serve a higher purpose.
Our residents can expect from me exactly what I have demonstrated over the past decade in our community. To do the work that others can’t see needs to be done and do it with the kind of elbow grease others aren’t willing to apply. They can expect continued devotion from me to improving our town while preserving what has made it uniquely special.
I call myself a “Gilbert Girl” through and through. Since moving here in the eighth grade (from Tempe), I have felt a connection to this community. As an adult I could have moved anywhere, and I have chosen to stay in Gilbert – where my roots, family, and heart is.
I love the town of Gilbert, I am devoted to the town of Gilbert, and believe I would continue to serve the town of Gilbert’s residents and businesses well on Town Council.
Rigler: One story from Small Business Alliance involvement
By Aimee Rigler – Aug, 05 2018
I have incredible stories about our time serving small businesses in our community at the Gilbert Small Business Alliance. It is hard to convey exactly what that service entailed. The best way to describe it, is to share stories of the people we helped along the way.
Meet my friend Darayus Mistry. He owns the Shell Mini Mart on Lindsay and Ray roads. We met Darayus through another Alliance member in the concrete business.
Darayus is one of the kindest and most gentle souls I have ever met. And he is incredibly hard working. Darayus works 12 to 16-hour days every day. His wife and children live in California while he works here in Arizona to scratch together a living for them and send his children through university. His son just graduated as a doctor!
Darayus first came into our office with tears in his eyes. He was distraught because as a business owner he was trying to find ways to diversify his business. As a private gas station operator, he doesn’t actually make any money on gas.
When he was approached by UHaul to rent small trailers and trucks from his property he jumped at the opportunity. Six months into operating, this side business proved very fruitful.
Clearly there was a significant need in the community.
However, he wasn’t aware at the time he started the business he would require the permission of the Town of Gilbert. Code compliance paid him a visit and gave him a violation, telling him he wasn’t zoned appropriately for “commercial vehicle” rentals.
We started looking at his case. We believed at the very least he should not have to rezone his property, but that he should qualify for a special use permit – which, although it would cost time and money – would at least allow him to continue the operation if the permit was approved.
It was worth a shot. We wound up arguing about the Town’s definition of “commercial vehicle.” We believed his location was a perfect place for such a service and that there was ample space for Darayus’ trucks.
Ultimately, we were able to make our arguments, submitted for a “text amendment” to change the code to allow for Darayus and other operators in his same boat to be able to provide this type of service to their neighbors. It was a huge win that did not just benefit Darayus but other small businesses in town as well.
After another six months going through this process, Darayus was able to get his use permit and carry on providing UHauls.
We are really proud of what we were able to accomplish as a family of small business owners.
A win for the little guy!
This is the truncated version of the story – it doesn’t belabor the heartache, the headaches or the sheer bureaucracy.
I hope you will stop by his convenience store for a sandwich and a drink sometime – and perhaps to say ‘hi’ to a humble and unassuming gentleman who owns the place.
‘I love fighting for taxpayers. It is a calling for me’
By Aimee Rigler – Aug, 12 2018
Am I a “Dark Money Lobbyist?” That’s what the signs next to my street signs around town are claiming. Well, allow me to clear this up.
I work for a nonprofit organization that does policy work at the state level. We are a principle-centered group that focuses on issues of private properties, regulatory reform, pro-growth tax reform and economic liberty issues.
My day job is fighting for taxpayers. Yes, I must register as a lobbyist to do my job. Ideological organizations like ours are the minority down at the Capitol, and they span from the left to the right.
Some of my favorite issues I have had an opportunity to work on were reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws which successfully passed in 2017 and will go a long way to protecting citizens’ property from being wrongfully confiscated by the government.
I also worked on a bill to protect “no impact” home-based businesses from local overregulation after meeting with many small businesses who were being harassed by their municipalities. Unfortunately, the latter did not pass, namely because so many cities lobbied against it. You read that right – lobbied against it.
And that brings me to a point of irony. Our organization has never taken A SINGLE CENT from the government. Private citizens got together and started our nonprofit because they had the same limited government beliefs. They wanted a presence at the Capitol to push back on all the special interests.
However, the town of Gilbert does use your tax dollars to contribute to organizations that hire lobbyists (in-house and contract) to fight for or against bills that are “pro-local government” but not necessarily “pro-taxpayer.”
And here is a big policy divergence between me and the incumbents running: I believe the government’s using your money to hire professional lobbyists to advocate against your interests – or at the very least what many people and businesses would personally disagree with – is wrong. It is forced speech and a misuse of taxpayer money.
In fact, in 2015, the town spent almost $340,000 on organizations that hire lobbyists. What if one of those organizations used that money to advance an idea or policy you seriously opposed? Would you want your money being spent that way? I sure don’t.
I love fighting for taxpayers. It is a calling for me. And I hope to be able to do it for you as a member of Gilbert Town Council.