Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, who will retire this fall after 32 years in office, has announced his endorsement of a successor: Councilman William “Rusty” Bailey.
BY ALICIA ROBINSON
Published: 18 July 2012 11:23 AM
Riverside councilman and mayoral candidate William “Rusty” Bailey said he could hardly find words to describe how he felt about getting the endorsement of five-term Mayor Ron Loveridge.
“Honored” and “ecstatic” were among the words he did locate after Loveridge announced Wednesday, July 18, that he’s backing Bailey, a second-term councilman and Poly High School government teacher, in a November runoff against Ed Adkison, a former councilman and businessman.
Bailey said he’s grateful to have the support of the mayor, whom he considers a mentor and respects for his 33-year public service career
Adkison and Bailey were the two candidates with the most votes after the June 5 election, when they were among seven hopefuls on the ballot.
Loveridge said it’s clear both men care about Riverside, but Bailey has shown an ability to bring people together and work collaboratively, a must with Riverside’s council-manager form of government.
“The powers of the mayor are primarily the power to persuade,” Loveridge said. “Rusty exemplifies that approach.”
Education will be crucial to the city’s future, both in terms of creating an educated workforce and improving schools to attract residents, he said, adding that Bailey works in that field and has been an advocate for it as a councilman.
Bailey said he hopes to continue efforts he and Loveridge have worked on together, like the just-launched “Walk Riverside” fitness program and the environmental “green action plan.”
If he is elected mayor, Bailey, 39, would be one of the youngest people to hold the office. “Passing the torch from (Loveridge’s) generation to my generation is something else that I can talk about” in the campaign, Bailey said.
Bailey adds Loveridge’s endorsement to one from Councilman Mike Gardner.
Adkison has received support from Councilmen Chris Mac Arthur and Steve Adams.
Some observers differed on how influential the mayor’s endorsement is likely to be with city voters.
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