Candidate Spotlight: Richard Hurt
All year long, we’re introducing you to our most creative and dedicated 2020 candidates in our new Candidate Spotlight!
Meet Richard Hurt, an accountant and small business owner running for Aliso Viejo City Council in California. Richard is committed to providing forward thinking policies that ensure the safety, long-term financial stability, and economic growth for the residents of Aliso Viejo. Get to know more about Richard below!
What inspired you to run for something?
I started my career with the Economic Development Agency during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. I witnessed people losing their homes, jobs, and savings because of unethical practices from banks and other businesses across our country. As I managed the stimulus funding that retrained workers and rebuilt communities, I realized how important it was to be involved in local government. How one leader could instill hope, inclusivity, long-term growth, and safety for cities that our kids will live in. Since it only takes one leader, I decided to use my education, talents, and empathy to run for office.
What issue is most pressing in your community and how do you plan on remedying it?
We are a young city and we have some growing pains. As such, our community needs to get involved with how we shape our Town Center for future use. If the strategy from 2001 is outdated, we must get involved and update it. Sales Tax is our second largest revenue source and when it falls, so does our quality of life. We do not have to make bricks fly to ensure sustainability and attract businesses that our community wants to see.
What’s surprised you the most about being a candidate?
I was surprised by the amount of support I received from my neighbors in Aliso Viejo and surrounding cities. We all want change and now it is within our grasp.
As you’ve been meeting with voters in your community, what is something new that you learned?
I learned that voters want to be heard. It sounds like a cliche, but people love the fact that I show up at their house and talk to them. That has been powerful and eye-opening for me.
If you could change one thing in politics today what would it be?
If I could change one thing in politics today it would be getting money out of politics. As I was deciding to run for office, the first thing I was asked was, “do you know how much money you need to raise?” I was not asked about my platform or how I would best serve the residents of Aliso Viejo. Every question was tied to money and I believe it’s disingenuous to the residents we wish to serve.
What is one takeaway you’d like to leave your constituents with?
I am not an incumbent, I am young, and I live in this city. My wife lives in this city and our future kids will live here as well. It is my belief that we have some of the best neighbors, parks, community events, and weather in South Orange County. Our city is one of a kind, but the dynamics are changing. As Aliso Viejo grows becoming more diverse and inclusive, we must work to find better solutions for our most vulnerable residents while at the same time ensuring a sustainable future for our young families. I am running because we need forward thinking leaders in our city.
Final Question: What would you say to someone who is thinking about running for office someday?
I would say before you decide to run, have a serious talk with yourself. Understand that you need popularity to get elected to an extent, so use it wisely.
Be prepared to do the work outside of ribbon cutting and favorable pictures. Know that you will make some people unhappy. Do the research, stay sharp, and try to talk to your constituents as often as you can. Remember, one time during the election season is not enough. Finally, start out with confidence and if you must go at it alone for a while then do it! The politics of today is centered around “cliques”, but do not let that get in your way. Form your own “clique” and focus on the change you wish to see.