Thursday, June 4, 2015

Riffenburg Comments on Panhandling Orders

Ward 6 City Council candidate Mark Riffenburg released a statement to the press on Tuesday outlining his take on the panhandling orders laid before the City Council at its June 2nd meeting.

“Matthew 25:40 reads, “…that which you did for the least of my brothers, you did for me” Growing up attending mass at Blessed Sacrament church, and attending Blessed Sacrament School for ten years -- that line really stuck with me. When I read the orders filed with the City Council tonight, that passage immediately came to mind.“ Riffenburg said.

“The problem isn’t that people are panhandling, the problem is that Holyoke is still one of the poorest communities in Western Massachusetts. Our focus shouldn’t be on criminalizing poverty, or hiding it from view, which is why as a City Councilor I’ll work to address the root causes of poverty, and reach a hand down to lift others up.”

“If we can work to bring in new businesses, and create jobs, if we can lower unemployment, and work together as a community to build a public school system that provides a top of the line education for our City’s young people – that’s the effective way to deal with poverty, and that’s where I’ll put my energy on the City Council.”

On the orders’ intent to make Holyoke more business friendly, Riffenburg said:

“We absolutely do need to make Holyoke business friendly, but panhandlers are not the problem.”

“We need to focus our time, and efforts on lowering the cost of doing business in Holyoke, cutting through the red tape that can make coming to Holyoke more difficult than coming to other cities, and continuing to market our city as the next big thing for growth and development in Massachusetts. As your City Councilor, I’ll work tirelessly towards these goals.”

Mark Riffenburg is running for City Council in Ward 6 in Holyoke. He’s a young, energetic candidate focused on moving Holyoke forward, and bringing integrity back to the Holyoke City Council. Mark can be reached by email at: or by phone at (413) 539-8774

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