Like father, like son: New Castle Mayor Art Riddile, Councilor Graham Riddile share mutual love for community
Originally from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, Art Riddile, like so many, came to Colorado and never left.
In 1969, Riddile moved to the Mile High City to study at the University of Denver and, following his tenure there, worked various jobs in the food and beverage industry before being assigned to a wholesale beverage distributor for the Aspen territory.
“Because of financial implications, though, we could not afford to live in the Aspen or Basalt area,” said Riddile, who works for Southern Wine & Spirits.
“The town of New Castle, at the time, had a population probably of about 800,” he said. “That would have been 1993, so we have been [in New Castle] for just about 25 years.”
Riddile now serves as the small town’s mayor.
As it turns out, he lived in about the 40th house constructed in Castle Valley Ranch and, although he loved raising a family there, something still bothered him.
Riddile’s father was a World War II veteran and his two older brothers also served in the United States Armed Forces.
“I did not serve in the military, and I always felt a little guilt behind that,” Riddile explained.
So, when Riddile was approached about running for a town council seat in 2006, he quickly agreed.
“I thought it would be an interesting way to pay back the community,” he explained.
After battling through a recession, only to watch New Castle then grow at one of the fastest rates in the country, Riddile, over a decade later, is in his second stint serving the town he loves.
a familiar face
Now, he does so alongside his 29-year-old son, Graham Riddile, who sits just a few seats over at the town council table.
“Graham’s ideas flow, and I don’t even know where they come from. Sometimes I don’t think he is my son,” Mayor Riddile said with a laugh. “He comes up with great ideas, he is passionate about the town and he wants to maintain this town moving forward in the manner that it is at this time.”
The father and son don’t dive into partisan topics as mayor and councilor. Rather, both praise what they love about New Castle, and its melting pot of ideas.
“The beauty of our town council is its diversity.” Mayor Riddile explained. “Four years ago, I think the average age of our council was probably pushing 68 or 69 years old.”
While he praised councils of the past, the current one — in addition to town staff and countless community volunteers — has helped the town reach new heights, he said. One of those newer faces is his son.
Graham Riddile moved with his dad and mother, Mari Riddile, to New Castle when he was just 4 years old. After growing up in the small town with his siblings, he decided to attend college in the Denver area, also like his father, but at Colorado School of Mines.
While the Front Range had its appeal, Graham missed his home town and headed back to the Western Slope where he fell in love with his wife, Alisha, and decided to reside permanently.
Graham Riddile now works as an engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and was a big part of the Grand Avenue Bridge project in Glenwood Springs during the detour and final construction phase last year.
He said he was amazed at the technicalities involved in New Castle’s growth, which as a child he witnessed right before his eyes. Returning as an adult, he said he was again inspired by the community’s generosity, particularly its volunteer spirit, which prompted the then roughly 26-year-old to also serve on the town’s council.
“My dad is genuinely loyal to the community, and I saw that a lot growing up,” Graham Riddile said. “That was pretty inspiring and, I think, of any value I could pick from him, it is just he loves where he lives, he is loyal to it, he cares deeply about New Castle, and I think that is something I bring to the table, too.”
Like his father, Graham also hopes to continue to make New Castle a great place to raise a family.
“We have a great council,” the younger Riddle said, pointing to its diversity of ideas, a mutual respect for one another and genuine love for the community it represents. “It is apolitical, we really focus on the issues and it is phenomenal how much you learn being on council.”
and, a toast
Graham Riddile described how things can get muddy and divisive too often on the national level, politically speaking. However, such a culture does not exist in New Castle, he noted.
“That is just not how it is on our New Castle Town Council,” he said. “We dive in and try and solve problems the best we can and really keep the community at the forefront … and that is something I am very proud to be a part of.”
While Art and Graham Riddile certainly share their differences of opinion, they also share a love of family, community and diversity.
For now, the two seem content with where they sit and what they do. And, in true Colorado fashion, at the end of the day, particularly council days — the first and third Tuesday of each month — the duo love sharing a beer together after a long day at one of town’s watering holes.
“I like Roaring Fork Flip quite a bit, and then Odell’s IPA,” Graham Riddile said of his favorite brews.
And, whether or not Graham Riddile will run for mayor himself one day, “who knows?,” he said.
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