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Village Council News & Announcements - Mayor Karyn Cunningham

Posted on: December 5, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Swearing In Comments from Mayor Cunningham


Swearing in Comments

Mayor Karyn Cunningham

December 5, 2018

Thank you so much everyone!  

Thank you all for being a part of this evening’s proceedings.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my amazing daughter, Megan, who not only encouraged me to run, but challenged me every step of the way. You not only made me a better candidate but you make me a better person.  She could not be here today but is joining by way of FaceTime. You are, and will always be, my rock, my inspiration, my best friend. I love you. 

To my nothing short of amazing family, my brother Ken, his life partner, Jason, my protective big sister, Katherine and my nephews, Cameron and Brennan. Mom and Dad would be so proud of all of you. Thank you for your unconditional support and love and for keeping me grounded in the values that we were raised with- faith, family and community. I love you guys very much.

Special thanks to my friend and neighbor, Mitch Mandler and our family friend Judge Lisa Walsh, for taking time out of your busy schedule to swear me in tonight.  You both set the bar high and I am honored to have not one but two friends to stand with me and swear me in.

Thank you to the American Legion District Vice Commanders Tom Frank and Jerry Bryden, Marlin Moore Post #133 Auxiliary President Stacy Cusano, Captain Paul Amato and our Bagpiper, Mr. Kenny Ahern and Drummer, Mr. Dave Keilen. (My Irish Mother is smiling down)

As kids, my mother always told us you can’t ever say thank you enough. There are so many supporters and friends that I would like to thank and recognize this evening and so thank you for indulging me for a few minutes. I wanted to make sure that they are recognized for their unwavering support, for believing in me and for standing with me throughout the months preceding this election. 

Campaign work is made easier when you are surrounded by friends that can help share the load and make it a little lighter. Together, neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street, door by door you braved the heat, the rain, the mosquitos, and the naysayers knocking on door after door, making countless phone calls, sending emails, driving Ms. Daisy and ensuring that no vote went unturned.

These are in no particular order. Know that each of you were instrumental in helping me. Thank you to:

Harry and Debby Nerenberg

Stanley Kowlessar Sr and his wife Myriam

Rex and Diane Lehman

Isabelle Wheeler

The Binker Family

Gary Pastorella

Miller Brothers

Bev Gerald

Chris Bermudez

Lisa Lungro

Lynda McGuire

Mike Perez

Andrea and Rob Ohagan

Susan Parker

Annette and Steve Katz

Mayor Shelly Stanczyk

Chuck and Donna Latchaw

Janis Back

Henry and Sue Clifford

Jim Shedd

Caroline Johnson 

Carina Ramirez

Willie and Chris Faella

Ed Glab

Pam and Tony Gorman

Jean Latoure

Don and Barbara Waters

Chris Scarano

Nancy Smith

John Linabury

Marta Gillete

Susan Admire


Karen Bodenhamer

The Quicks and their children Natalia and Nico 

Linn, Steve and Katie Signori

Karen and Tom Uhle

Suzanne Tatham

The Caproons

The Dewitts

Andrea Loring and Marvin Dunn

Jennie Smith

Joni Precht

Andy and Sherri Bower

The Barfields

Oscar Fonseca

The Cinalli Family

Javi Rodriguez

Carlos Delgado

Karl and Susie Cetta

Jim Gall and his family

Susan Alonso

Raul and Nancy Martinez

Leanne Tellum and all the amazing women you have brought into my life including Robin Bachin, Erika Murrens, Jennifer Hoffman, Esther Slazas, Kelly Fullerton, Katie Landsea, Nancy Walker, Liza Letona, 

Maria Luz Penaranda

Steve Kriesher

Jennifer Archer

Gazitua family

Joe Bier

The DeLaurier family

My Melissa Institute Family, Lynn and Michael Aptman

Steve and Meighan Alexander

Marilyn Gonzalez

Debby Hutchins

Nery Bravo

The Tabors

Niki Spitzer

Martha AnzolaAnd so many more…. 

To my amazing team of workers turned family- Marco Gonzalez, Dylan Blake, Hank Tellam, Grace Dewitt, Nelson Cacares, Katie Signori. Thank you for making my campaign your own, my vision, my ideals, my passion yours. You are amazing young people and I am proud of the way you conducted yourself through out the campaign. 

To my political advisor, Jose Luis Castillo and his wife Lourdes, I thank you and your amazing team for your direction, discipline and genuine friendship. 

To my friend and colleague, John Dubois, two words- no runoff. Seriously, thank you so much for believing in me. I am grateful for your friendship and look forward to serving with you for the next two years.

To Rabbi Gansburg and his wife Chani, Sammy and Linda Flores and all those that lifted me in prayer. This campaign taught me my own capacity for prayer. I am humbled to know that so many counted me in their daily prayers. I will continue to look to you to strengthen my faith and to being the glue that seamlessly holds our community together. I thank all our places of worship for being here this evening.

There is always one friend that knows you better than most and while they try your patience, they positively challenge your spirit. Fausto, thank you for being that friend. Many a day you cheered me on, helped move my needle and find the courage within myself to continue when I was unsure.

I am also grateful for the support and endorsements of many organizations and friends who have had the opportunity to work with me through the years. School Board member Dr. Larry Feldman, School Board Member Lubby Navarro, Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman, Pinecrest Vice Mayor Anna Hochkamer, Cutler Bay Vice Mayor Sue Loyzelle and Councilmember Michael Callahan, Former Palmetto Bay Councilman Howard Tendrich and Paul Neidhart, Former Superintendent Octavio Visiedo, President Jeffrey Mitchell and AFL-CIO Working Families, Liz Ramsey and the professors of UFMDC, SAVE LGBTQ, Transportation Workers, President Bill Riley of IBEW, President Scott Singer of the Crane Operators. It takes great courage to take a chance and put your name to a candidate.  I thank you for taking a chance on me. I will make you proud.

Thank you to my colleague, my friend and the President of United Teachers of Dade Karla Hernandez Mats and your leadership team Vice President Tony White and Secretary Treasurer Mindy Grimes Festge. I am very grateful for your encouragement, support and the endorsement of my peers. Thank you for blazing a trail for teachers like myself to step up to serve in leadership roles across the state.

Last but by no means least, I want to acknowledge the teachers, the firefighters, the police, the nurses, the doctors and all service personnel of Palmetto Bay. You have my profound respect and deep admiration. All of you were integral in pushing me successfully across the finish line. 

I also want to take a moment to acknowledge all the candidates that ran in our local elections. Politics is not for the thinned skinned or the faint of heart. It takes courage to put yourself out there to the public. I enjoyed having the opportunity to get to know each of the candidates as we campaigned side by side and discussed issues with the voters. Palmetto Bay should be proud to have so many worthy candidates that stepped up to represent our community. Each of them deserves our gratitude for their efforts for they are our neighbors and our friends. (ask them to stand) Tony Gorman, David Soderholm, Bob Buzzelli, Tim Schaffer.

For those that did not vote for me, I look forward to earning your trust. Please know that my door is open and I am genuinely interested in discussing your ideas and vision for the village.

Mayor Flinn, on behalf of all the residents of our Village, I thank you for your many years of devoted service to our community. You have earned the respect and admiration of the Village and I know you will continue to inform and be engaged.  I wish you and your family only the very best for the future.

Likewise, I wish to thank Councilwoman Larissa Seigel Lara for your service. A stickler for process, I appreciate the business minded approach your brought to your role on council.  I look forward to continuing to partner with you in your new capacity at the Deering Foundation.

As we open a new chapter in Palmetto Bay it is my distinct pleasure to welcome back my friend Councilman Patrick Fiore and welcome newly-minted Councilwoman Marsha Matson to the Village Council.  Together, along with Vice Mayor John Dubois and Councilman David Singer, I will work to ensure that government remains inclusive, responsive and respectful.

To all village staff thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do, I look forward to serving alongside you as we embark on a new, “People-Driven Administration,” where the needs and concerns of every Palmetto Bay resident will be our first priority.

Palmetto Bay has always prided itself as a welcoming, small town, where residents are able to escape the stresses of everyday life and enjoy their families along with beautiful parks and the many recreational opportunities our community has to offer. As beautiful as our community is there are opportunities for improvement. As I walked and drove the streets of our city during the campaign listening to our residents, the one thing that resonated with me was people’s desire to maintain the fabric of our community. 

This week, we launched Palmetto Bay’s Street by Street initiative. This will be a Village-wide effort designed to update, beautify and improve any deteriorating or neglected part of our community. Working with the Manager I will be visiting every block, every street in our city to inventory and evaluate the streetscape conditions. As the saying goes, all that shimmers is not gold. If we are to maintain our piece of paradise, we need to maintain what we have in addition to looking to the new. By evaluating streetscape conditions on a street by street and block by block level, our Village will maintain its fresh and pristine image, increasing property values and making Palmetto Bay an even more attractive place to live.

I am excited for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. How we deal with future development, environmental concerns, traffic and transit will impact our quality of life. 

As Mayor, I will continue to fight against overdevelopment which contributes to traffic congestion on our already congested roads, and will work diligently with county, state and federal officials to formulate traffic solutions and alleviate existing congestion, while continuing to advocate for rail for Southern Miami-Dade, giving residents more transportation options in the future.  

It is also my intention to work closely with the leaders of our neighboring municipalities, as well as Miami-Dade County and our Commissioners, in supporting and implementing measures that combat the real threats caused by Climate Change and Sea Level Rise, as well as supporting initiatives that prohibit the use of disposable consumer materials that pose a significant threat to our delicate environment and its many ecosystems. 

As your Mayor, along with the Village Council, we have the essential duty to administer your municipal government as efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible, ensuring that your tax dollars are spent wisely and not wastefully.  I vow to continue to formulate and support legislative initiatives that provide optimum governmental services without raising your taxes.

As part of my “People-Driven Administration,” I will continue and expand on the successful initiatives and programs that I spearheaded while serving as Councilwoman.

Success begins with listening. I intend to continue engaging residents and meeting them where they are through the “After Hours with Karyn” program which allows residents to meet with me for coffee and discuss their ideas, issues and vision for the Village. In addition, my “Saturdays in the Park” program will continue to give residents the opportunity to meet with me to discuss their ideas about how to improve our cherished parks and green spaces.

Starting in January, I will also have open office hours here at Village Hall. If you stop by Village Hall for other business, you can look for the Mayor is In sign in the lobby and stop in to chat or just say hi.  No appointment necessary.

I will continue to work with our Education Advisory Board and our schools not only to make sure that they are safe but to partner to enhance programming, business partnership and bring more opportunities for our talented students to shine. The quality of our schools, and helping every child achieve success, affects all residents and businesses throughout our community. When we protect our children, provide better schools and stronger neighborhoods, and prepare our future leaders, we are creating a better quality of life for our residents. 

The “Passive Park Initiative” allowing the Village to take steps in acquiring parcels of land for the expansion of parks within the Village.  The acquisition of these properties will enable us to increase our tree canopy which not only enhances the beautification of our community, but increases home values as well.  Our parks are an essential part of our identity as a community, and creating new green spaces and passive parks for our residents to enjoy, will only further the mission of our Village to protect, preserve and restore our natural environment.

We will continue the successful “IBus Park & Ride” which established the first of its kind pilot program using the Village’s IBus to transport commuters to the county’s Metrorail System on the busway as part of reducing vehicular traffic and reduce our carbon footprint by removing as many automobiles as possible from our roadways - positively impacting current traffic conditions. Look for this program to expand to other parts of our community.

These are just a few of my priorities as I take my seat as your Mayor.  

This evening, each of you received a yellow rose lapel pin. In my family, the yellow rose has great significance. Yellow Roses were given to me for each special occasion from the time I was a child. The yellow rose has long been associated with the sun and its life-giving warmth and it is the spokes color for warm feelings of friendship and optimism. It represents joy, wisdom and power- all qualities we will need to be successful as community leaders. Leadership does not happen in a vacuum, on a Facebook page or in a blog. As I have for the past four years, I will continue to look to each of you- my neighbors, my friends and community members for support and input and yes, prayers and I will continue to work and will do so with joy and wisdom and friendship and optimism.

Together we can make Palmetto Bay an even better place to live, work, learn, play and Pray! God Bless each of you and may God continue to bless Palmetto Bay. 

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