Newly retired, Deborah Robertson drove around Rialto and quickly decided what she would do with all that “free time.” She put all her efforts in running for mayor.
Four years later and one term as mayor, Mayor Robertson is still working to keep Rialto moving in the right direction. During her first term, which began in 2012, economic opportunities went up while crime went down. Her collaboration with neighboring cities along the Interstate 10 corridor will result in better traffic flow, even as more industrial jobs take root in the area.
“I feel the role of mayor is a calling, not just a title,” said Mayor Robertson, who was a three-term city councilwoman before her first term as mayor. “When I took office, my goals were to stabilize our financial future, improve the economic and business development in Rialto, create greater job opportunities, hire the local workforce and make Rialto a safe place to live, work and play.”
“Today, our businesses are on the rise, a greater number of residents are part of the local workforce, crime statistics are down and we as a community have made a tremendous commitment to improving our streets and roads.”
In working on the needs of the city, Mayor Robertson leaned on her vast experience. A native Californian, Mayor Robertson holds an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Before retiring, she was the Deputy District Director of External
Affairs for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Partnering with the cities of Fontana, Colton and San Bernardino, the focus has been on economic development and the creation of jobs in the fields of technology, transportation along with commercial endeavors.
“A major accomplishment has been attracting businesses to this city and the surrounding communities,” Mayor Robertson said. “We focus on where we are (geographically). The footprint has been cast. Anything that goes from the ports to the rest of the United States – 90 percent of it has to pass through the Inland Empire. We need to see the technology of moving goods and make sure the skill sets for these jobs are transferred into our community so our people are competitive.”
The biggest project for the city is the Renaissance at the north end of Rialto, formerly Rialto Airport. Through legislation, the city was able to redirect aviation activity to San Bernardino International Airport (Formerly Norton Air Force Base). More than 1,500 acres are being redeveloped into housing, commercial, industrial and entertainment areas, also bringing tax revenue and jobs.
“Rialto is the jewel of the Inland Empire,” Mayor Robertson said. “I have a plan and I want to continue to execute the plan to move Rialto forward.”
For more information about Mayor Deborah Robertson go to www.DeborahRobertson.org.
About Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson
Deborah Robertson was elected Mayor of Rialto in November 2012 – the latest achievement in a distinguished public service career that has included 12 years on the Rialto City Council, leadership positions at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), and more than 20 years with the California Department of Transportation. Under Mayor Robertson’s leadership, Rialto has gained regional and national recognition for innovation in the areas of public-private partnerships, business development and job creation. The City’s refinancing and restructuring of its water and wastewater operations has become a model for other communities in California, pumping millions of dollars into the local economy.
Mayor Robertson retired from Caltrans in 2011, as Deputy District Director of External Affairs. A native Californian, she holds an undergraduate degree in Urban Planning from the University of California, San Diego, a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the City University of New York Bernard Baruch College and is a National Urban Fellows recipient. She is also a scholarship recipient and past participant of the Southern California Leadership Network.
Mayor Robertson has two children and six grandchildren, that are the joy of her life.