PARKLAND, FL- Last Thursday Rich Walker announced his bid for Parkland Mayor. Walker currently serves as City Commissioner of District 2, a position he's held since November of 2018. Rich and his wife Catherine live with their five children, Delaney, Steffy James, Scott, Drake, and Hayes in Parkland Isles. He is the owner of Bergen Sign Company, which is located in Pompano Beach and Wayne, New Jersey.
Walker is very active in his community. He currently serves on the Parkland Soccer Board and is also an active coach in flag football, soccer and little league. Prior to his role as City Commissioner, he served on the Parkland Little League board. Walker also represents the City of Parkland at most city events. Rich and his family are actively involved in giving back and serving throughout the year at various events benefiting SOS Children's Village, Hope South Florida and many more organizations. Rich and his wife Catherine play Santa and Mrs. Claus throughout the holiday season.
Below, Rich Walker shares his vision for Parkland in his own words by responding to a series of questions.
When did you decide to run for Mayor of Parkland?
As soon as I received the impressive news regarding Christine’s new endeavor, I immediately considered devoting myself to a campaign for the Mayor of The City Of Parkland. When I began my journey as Parkland City Commissioner, District 2, I had always hoped to fulfill my two terms as Commissioner, and then once Christine completed her term, I would pursue the next level as Mayor. I want to efficiently and productively serve Parkland for as long as I am able to. Not knowing the future landscape, I feel that now is the time to take this unforeseen opportunity. I believe that my involvement throughout the Parkland Community within all of the Sports & Recreation Programs, various school events and activities ranging from elementary, middle and high school, along with the Parkland Chamber of Commerce truly demonstrates my dedication. I am a huge advocate for small business as I am a part of this demographic. My extensive business background, with established companies both in NJ and in Florida, coupled with performing work all over the country, provides me with an accurate and current sense of the economy. My employee base has grown significantly and functions in an exceptional independent manner that does not require me to micromanage. This is a true testament to my leadership style. I believe that I can continue to be a valuable asset and partner with Parkland to continue to navigate through the future.
Has the mayoral position always been a goal of yours?
I do believe this was part of my plan. We are not always in control of the timing, so sometimes opportunities will arise sooner than anticipated. I have always been someone who is not afraid to take risks. Coupled with the encouragement and constant support of my enthusiastic Campaign Dream Team, along with my wife, family and friends I am truly looking forward to serving this great city as The Mayor of Parkland.
What are your first priorities for the city of Parkland?
There are 3 priorities which can be addressed concurrently:
- The 1st priority is to ensure that our residents are safe. Safe from the virus, safe from the emotional and mental experience of isolation especially within a community still reeling from trauma, and safe from the ramifications of the current state of our economy. It is imperative that we work alongside every level of government to ensure that we take advantage of any opportunities that we may have to help our City return to our normal state in as safe a manner as possible.
- 2nd, we need to continue moving forward with our infrastructure. We need to make sure our Parks Masterplan which we just completed is properly implemented. We need to make sure the repairs which have been needed are completed in a timely fashion, and our expansion is properly outlined and completed with the features that we need. I am excited for this process, as having been on the fields coaching and watching everyone play, I have firsthand knowledge of those needs. I look forward to continuing to work with the Parks and Recreation Board, Leagues and City Staff to see that this is completed in the best interest of all of our residents.
- Lastly, we have to continue to work with our amazing partners in the community who have brought awareness and help to our community’s mental health needs. Our current unprecedented situation will amplify these needs, so it’s important to continue to monitor and support those who need help.
What are the greatest overall needs currently for the city of Parkland?
Getting back to normalcy. That is paramount. We need to make sure we have a positive and most importantly, fully engaged leader in our community. I believe I have shown that I will be there for everyone. I do my best to be as accessible as possible. You cannot be aware or properly accomplish things unless you are thoroughly engaged with the various facets of our community. I have the genuine mindset of getting myself directly involved. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, so to speak...you will see me throughout the community on my bike… Attending and volunteering during events at various schools… Coaching on numerous fields… Running alongside you in the local 5K at Pine Trails Park...Standing in line for my family’s apple cider donuts at the Parkland Farmer’s Market... Holding the yard line sign at our Rangers’ football games… Volunteering at an Eagle Regiment event at MSD… Attending Events at the Parkland Library with my children...Cooling off in the dunk tank at the Parkland Little League’s Annual Opening Day festivities…Dropping by Aston Gardens. Both myself and my entire family are dedicated and immersed in this beautiful community
What are Parkland’s strengths?
Our community is unbelievably resilient. We have been through so much and every single time, we get back up, dust ourselves off and continue forward, fully aware that our elected officials will be there for us 100%. I promise to do that 24/7.
Where do you see Parkland in 10 years?
It is a great question. Since I have moved here we have changed and grown so much... adding so many homes with young families. That’s one of the main reasons my family chose to live in Parkland. It’s great to see, but we need to continue to increase our level of service for our residents in order to keep Parkland a wonderful place to live. We need to ensure our infrastructure, including our parks are in the best condition they can be and their capacity will meet the needs of our residents. We have and continue to add a large amount of 55+ communities. We are going to have to make sure this demographic has everything they desire and require to ensure that when they talk about their hometown, they will rave about it as well. We have some other areas that need to be addressed, and of course our schools (while I know we do not control our schools), we can work with the school board to make sure our schools are safe, secure and our children’s education is at its best. Our youngest child Hayes is in kindergarten, so I can assure you that I am in it for the long haul.
What are your political aspirations?
My aspirations are to serve the City of Parkland. My wife Catherine and I have 5 children ranging from 6 to 16 years old - Hayes, Drake, Scott, Steffy James and Delaney. We are currently engaged at every level of our school system- Kindergarten, 4th grade, 6th grade, 8th grade and sophomore in high school. I have a vested interest in making sure Parkland continues to be the best place to raise a family, but we have some work to do. We are heading in the right direction, but there is always room for improvement. I know I can be a part of the solution because it means everything to me and my family, my friends, my neighbors and my fellow constituents to make sure it does indeed happen.
How can people support you and your bid for Parkland Mayor?
People can support me by positively communicating the word of my candidacy. Campaigning will certainly function on an entirely new playing field and I look forward to the challenge during these unprecedented times. I encourage my fellow Parklanders to share their ideas and vision. I am always available in person… Via cell phone… Or email. I think it’s important for any elected official to make sure their constituents understand their values and goals. It is important that we make ourselves readily available to receive and address concerns to the best of our ability and for the greater good of our beautiful city.
Thank you for your excitement and support.