Who is Carmen Rivera?

My name is Carmen Rivera, and I am running for Renton City Council because we need decisive leadership to ensure Renton is a place where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

Renton has always been my home. I am proud to say I was born and raised in Renton, though my story in our city begins long before then. My family arrived in Renton in the 1970’s; my father was the first Puerto-Rican born police officer hired by the Seattle Police Department, and my mother was a small business owner. Together they were able to build a home here and put down roots to achieve the American dream, and they made sure to actively participate in the city that made their dream possible. 

For years our family volunteered at the Renton Salvation Army Food Bank downtown, making sure that we looked out for our neighbors going through hard times. My mother even served on the city planning commission for over five years and I remember attending meetings with her at a young age. I played the viola in the Renton Youth Symphony for several years and spent countless hours of my childhood at the Renton Community Center. Having these community spaces is so important to the health and character of our city, and I want to ensure that other families and children are able to utilize them to their full potential.

After graduating from Lindbergh High School (Go Eagles!), I earned a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Forensic Psychology from Seattle University, as well as a Master’s in Forensic Psychology from the University of Liverpool. I began my career in the Washington State’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families at Echo Glen Children’s Center for almost five years. During my time, I managed a full caseload of multiple youths, developed their individualized treatment plans, and engaged them in daily, as well as weekly counseling sessions. I then transitioned to work for King County’s Youthsource, working with youth who had dropped out of high school to get them back on track. I am currently an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University’s Criminal Justice Department where I teach tomorrow’s leaders through a racial and equity lens.  As a professional with mostly direct services experience, I intimately understand and value the incredible importance of actively engaging and listening to ALL community members. If we do not seek to understand one another, how can we ever hope to achieve agreements on anything?

Renton means so much not only to my family and I, but to all of us who call here home. My partner and I hope to raise a family here, and were even able to move into the house I grew up in after my parents retired. I see so much hope and opportunity here, and I want to continue to give back to the city that raised me. Renton faces numerous challenges in the coming years: increasing costs of living, infrastructure concerns, and bringing back many of the small businesses who were devastated as a result of the pandemic, just to name a few. We need leaders who will not only listen to what the community wants but will actively seek out input and direction from those they hope to serve. These are the priorities and values I will bring to the Renton City Council. With your vote, we can all work together to make sure Renton remains a place where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

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