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Chris Rios wants to give back to his home community

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My name is Chris Rios and I moved to Ellsworth with my wife, Hannah, and 3 daughters Emmalyn, Brooklynn, and Maya in February 2019. I’m a Firefighter Paramedic with the Salina Fire Department where I have worked since 2009. I currently serve on the board of the International Association of Firefighters Local 782 where I have served on the executive board since 2011. Since joining the executive board I’ve held the positions of treasurer, vice-president, and currently have held the position of president for the last 3 years. I started my own business, Ultra Shine Holiday & Event Lighting, in 2015 and have grown it to the largest Christmas light installation company in Central Kansas. This year I volunteered to serve on the Ellsworth Cowtown Days committee where I organized the first annual Cowtown Days Steak Cookoff bringing people from all over the state to town. The reason I decided to run for Mayor of Ellsworth is because I finally found a place as an adult that I’m proud to say this is my hometown and I want to give back to our great community.

If elected to Mayor of Ellsworth I’d have to say my top 3 priorities would include firstly making sure the city council is being fiscally responsible with the budget. I have been apart of too many organizations that have the mind set of “use it or lose it” when it comes to a budget. I feel that this is an irresponsible way to run a business or city. My second priority would be to continue to support and bring new businesses to our local community. We have had a ton of several new local businesses opening lately which is amazing. I feel we as the city council need to be able to support these businesses to make them feel welcome and help them become successful. My third priority would be to make sure our first responders have what they need to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. As a first responder I know having the proper equipment and training could make the difference between life and death.

I feel we have several large economic drivers in our community. All the major manufactures in town help to keep people working in our community instead of having to travel to larger towns like Salina, Hays, and Great Bend. I also feel the Ellsworth Correctional Facility and Ellsworth County Medical Center do a great job of this as well. These businesses not only keep local residents in town working but also bring people from outside our community to town where they end up spending money in our community which helps increase the city revenue. I think helping to keep these businesses in town is huge for the continued growth and success of Ellsworth.

I feel that Ellsworth has lots of opportunities for growth. I would like to see another hotel or some form of lodging come to town. I feel that a lot of people come to town for events and weddings and then they travel back to towns like Salina to stay. Another opportunity I’d like to see brought to town which has been a huge hit in other cities I’ve been in would be a dog park. I think they are awesome ways to get the community together and out visiting with each other while also encouraging outdoor recreation.

Success to me as mayor is when I can be a voice for the citizens that elected me. I don’t feel a position like mayor should be for someone to push a personal agenda. Being a successful mayor includes working well with the rest of the city council and the city manager. When a City Council can work together for the betterment of the community then you bring success to the city. I feel that success for the City of Ellsworth is when we are able to be a town where we can encourage people to not move away from Ellsworth and it encourages others including businesses to move to our great community.

I see latest major issues the city is facing is finding the funding to demolish the old hospital. Unfortunately, the demolition of this structure is falling on the city but it has become a huge eye sore and a major safety hazard. Parts of the building have started to deteriorate and pose a safety hazard to the public. Another big issue we as a city are facing right now is the financial burden of the detention basins at Krizek Park. The project continues to develop with more issues costing the city more than originally planned.

In 10 years I’d love to see Ellsworth be the community that everyone looks at and says, “I want our town to have the pride in our community that Ellsworth has.” I’d love to see our community where we continue to support the small businesses we have here locally and strive to make each other successful.