Candidate Survey: Joe Riley for Caroline County State’s Attorney

Joe Riley


Office Sought and District
State’s Attorney for Caroline County

JD – University of Baltimore BA & BS – UMBC

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Political Experience


Social Media Accounts
Facebook – Joe Riley Ad Interim State’s Attorney

Why are you running for office?
I am a career prosecutor who is dedicated to protecting our families and serving the community. Caroline County is where I live and with my wife Jennifer and our son Tyler raise our family. It is personal to me to make Caroline County a safe place to run your business, raise your family, and make your future. I want to also make it the last place that you want to commit a serious crime. I have as chief prosecutor for this county spoke at our Legislature in Annapolis to make the human trafficking of children a crime of violence. I have dedicated my time to community service. I am a Ridgely Lion and the Vice President/Founding Member of the Caroline Optimists. The Optimists primary outreach is the yearly Shop With a Cop program where we take underprivileged youth, match them up with uniformed law enforcement, provide funds for them to shop for gifts for the Christmas season with the officer, wrap the gifts, provide lunch for the child and the officer, and have them transported with the officer in a cavalcade of lights. This provides a positive one on one interaction with the officer and the youth and combat the narrative in mainstream media that law enforcement are a group to be feared.

Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
Governor Larry Hogan. He has led our State with embracing conservative ideals and managing to still achieve great things despite having a large minority in the State Legislature.

What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
American Lion by Jon Meachum. While I do not consider Andrew Jackson’s policies as something to emulate. I do respect his ability to climb from his beginnings to the top political office in this Country. Only in the United States was that story possible.

What will be your top priority in elected to this position?
Our continued focus on the opiate crisis will be my top priority. I currently serve as the President of our Drug Task Force’s Board and work with them closely. Since I was appointed in 2016 we have assigned the Deputy State’s Attorney to all drug felonies in this county. He is “Top Gun” certified and has obtained several convictions of drug dealers. While we are strong in our dealings with those who distribute poison it is also important to be compassionate to those suffering with addiction. We have started a problem solving court and that has helped giving those who are non violent drug possessors tools to combat their addiction and become productive members of society once again.

What is the biggest issue facing your county?
The Opiate Crisis

What is your position on taxes and spending?
I am a fiscal conservative. My first year’s budget was a proposed 700,000 plus and we returned a 6% surplus to the county.

What is your position on a county tax cap?
This is an issue with positives and negatives. The positives are that a cap limits how much government can tax its citizens or business entities. The negatives are that the cap may be set to high and the powers that be can have political cover by keeping taxes higher than they should be as long as they are under the cap. In my opinion it is better to have a policy of lowering taxes wherever it is fiscally responsible. This has been a winning issue for conservatives since the Reagan Revolution. A lack of a tax cap means whenever liberals raise taxes conservatives can attack them as being fiscally irresponsible and they will not have the cover of the tax cap to protect them.

What is your position on land use issues?
As a public servant in one of the more rural counties on the Eastern Shore land use issues are of tremendous import to me. Caroline County’s Comprehensive Plan details steps and policies that ensure our resources are allocated wisely, that growth while desirable is somewhere that county provided services are capable of being utilized and not spread too thinly. This is an issue that is best handled at the county level by local government rather than larger centralized government at the State and Federal level.

What is your position on public safety?
As a life long prosecutor I have a strong record on public safety. I have never defended drug dealers, domestic abusers, or people who harm children. I am a father and community servant. Making and keeping Caroline County safe is paramount. I am tremendously proud of that since I have been serving in the State’s Attorney’s Office for Caroline County our crime numbers have dropped every year (Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention 2011-present). This is partially because our fantastic officers in our local units and the Maryland State Police, well trained dedicated prosecutors, and Caroline County residents who all work hard to make sure that this is the best County it can be.

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