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Rancho Mirage Mayor Richard Kite stepping down from city council after 23 years

Rancho Mirage Mayor Richard W. Kite announced his resignation from the city council.

Kite has been a resident of the Coachella Valley for 65 years, graduating from Palm Springs High School
in the early 1960s.

He has been a member of the Rancho Mirage City Council for 23 years. The city was just 27 years old when Kite was first elected to the city council in 2000.

Kite has served as mayor of the city six times.

Kite's last city council meeting will be on Nov. 16. Mayor Pro Tem Steve Downs will serve as the city's mayor, a month earlier from the city's annual mayoral rotation.

There was no reason given for Kite's resignation. His term was set to expire in 2024.

Kite recently released a public Mayor's Message announcing his resignation:

Dear friends:

November signals the upcoming mayoral rotation for the City of Rancho Mirage. It’s also when I pen my final mayor message while holding this esteemed position. However, this one feels a bit different than previous ones. I didn’t intentionally set out to be the longest tenured elected official in Rancho Mirage, but so many amazing people and meaningful projects made the time go by so quickly.

So, it is with a grateful heart and maybe a little mist in my eyes, that I wanted to share with you my decision to step down and resign from the Rancho Mirage City Council after my role as mayor has been fulfilled on November 16, 2023.

Upon reflection, I have served 23 incredible years on this City Council and 6 times as your mayor. There have been 38 elected officials that have served this great city since incorporation 50 years ago and I have had the privilege of working with 14 of them.

I remember back to the first day I was sworn into office in 2000. I was so full of hope and honored to be a part of such a star-studded community.

Rancho Mirage was only 27 years old officially at the time. In the years to come I was able to take part in worthwhile projects like the undergrounding of utilities throughout the city, the approval and construction of the bighorn fence that was instrumental in saving the herds that lived in our mountains. I was involved in the approval process of opening our current library in 2006. I was there when our friends at Agua Caliente built and opened their Rancho Mirage resort and casino. I was there for the opening of the Sunnylands visitors center, the launch of the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival, the groundbreaking and ribbon cuttings for our amphitheater, dog park, observatory, and Rancho Mirage High School!

Over the years, we have faced our fair share of challenges, celebrated countless victories, and grown together as a community.

During my time on City Council, we always made the city's financial health our number one priority because the direct and profound impact it has on the well-being and quality of life for our residents. It's not just about numbers and budgets; it affects every aspect of city life, from vital public services and infrastructure to social programs and economic development. I take great pride in our collective accomplishments as we've worked hand in hand constantly building a city we can all hold in high esteem.
As my time on the City Council comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude and reflect on the progress we've made together during my time in office.

I thank my fellow councilmembers, the hardworking city employees, our dedicated first responders, commissioners and volunteers who have been instrumental in our city's success. Your tireless efforts have made our community a better place to live.

Over the past two decades, we've reached several significant milestones. Notably, the city's 50th anniversary of incorporation, which we celebrate this year! Moreover, we've witnessed economic growth, job creation, and increased opportunities for our residents, all contributing to an improved quality of life for everyone in our city.
As I bid you farewell, I am filled with gratitude for the countless memories we've created together, and for the profound impact you've had on my life.

Thank you to the residents for allowing me to serve you over the last 23 years.

It has been the honor of my lifetime, and I will forever hold Rancho Mirage close to my heart.

Mayor Richard W. Kite

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Article Topic Follows: Local Politics

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