Political newcomer files to run for Idaho Falls mayor
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IDAHO FALLS — A newcomer is hoping to join the Idaho Falls political scene by running for mayor.
Ashley Romero, a mother of four kids, has filed to run against incumbent Mayor Rebecca Casper and said it’s time the public has a voice.
“I felt like I haven’t been listened to the last eight years by Casper and our City Council,” Romero told EastIdahoNews.com. “I feel the need to be a voice for other people who haven’t been heard the last eight years.”
The “last straw” for Romero was an issue she had with a slide at Kate Curley Park. At the beginning of the summer, Romero said one of the slides became “partially detached” and has not been repaired. Romero said she has tried reaching out to the City Council, the mayor’s office and the Parks and Recreation Department to have the slide fixed.
“I have not gotten a single response,” Romero said. “Not even the Parks Department has responded.”
Another issue important to Romero is the current water tower discussion. The decades-old tower needs to be replaced and the city has been looking at a location in South Capital Park. Despite heated opposition from a few residents, Romero said it is another example of people not being heard.
If elected, Romero said she will first look at the city’s budget and where money is being spent. She wants to speak to all the city departments and learn their needs to figure out how the city can budget funds appropriately.
“Just like I do with a budget at home, I’m going to see how we can make things happen with what we have,” Romero said. “I learned from a young age to budget. I grew up in a single-parent home, so I learned if there is something you want, you have to work for it. If you want the city to be beautiful and that’s the main goal, that’s great – but is that a want or a need? I want to meet the needs of the city, then go from there.”
Safety issues are also a top priority on Romero’s list of budget items, such as repairing the slide at Kate Curley Park.
“Parents care about their kids and want their kids to be safe,” Romero said.
After listening to her 8-year-old daughter, Romero said she wants to have a “Mayor’s kids club” where twice a month, children can voice their thoughts on the city and come up with solutions.
“Kids are observant. They know what is going on around them,” Romero said. “They recognize when something is not right and sometimes we need to look at what they’re seeing.”
Romero has a background in music and has helped friends with their campaigns through high school and college.
“I felt called to run this time because if I’m not being heard, someone else isn’t either and that’s not okay with me,” Romero said. “I want people to know I’m willing to listen.”
Since EastIdahoNews.com published this story, Romero said the parks and recreation department reached out and said they sent a specialist to inspect the slide. The specialist reportedly deemed the slide structurally sound but ordered parts to strengthen it.
“Due to lack of communication, I was only seeing the same problem with no change or timeline for change,” Romero said. “I am so grateful that they are addressing the situation. And more than that, communicating with the citizens. I am continuing my campaign to address budgeting concerns and other platform issues I will be announcing later today.”