Gomez was sworn in as Tamarac Mayor prior to her speech.
By Agrippina Fadel
“Life is good,” said newly reelected Mayor of Tamarac Michelle Gomez at the induction ceremony at the city hall, and the room erupted in applause.
Gomez won the November 8 election against her challenger Mike Gelin with 12,735 votes, opposite his 10,091. After being sworn in on Monday, November 21, she gave a passionate and heartfelt speech, at times sounding on the verge of tears. The audience cheered and laughed, with one resident shouting, “we love you, mayor,” at a particularly emotional moment.
“I am so overjoyed to be here as your mayor for another term,” Gomez said.
Reminiscing on her first term, she described her fight with breast cancer in 2018 and 2019 and said with the community’s help, love, support, and prayers; she survived medical procedures, chemotherapy, radiation, and losing all of her hair.
Gomez recalled a funny situation that happened to her when she was wearing a wig at one of the commission meetings. After facing the audience, she turned to look to her right only to realize that her wig was still facing forward.
“I decided I needed to do something different,” Gomez said, adding that two days later, she went to the Chamber of Commerce breakfast wearing a “paw-print schmatta” on her head and was blown away by the wonderful reception she received.
“I was accepted for who I was, not for what I looked like. It was very rewarding and taught me a lot. I don’t know if the people at that meeting knew how much it meant to me,” she said.
Gomez added that the city staff did everything possible to ensure she could still do her job while going through treatments without missing a bit. “I am grateful for that,” she said.
The mayor-elect thanked the unions and organizations that endorsed her, local companies that offered support and donations, and all the volunteers who helped her campaign. “To the city staff members, thank you for everything you do. Without you, this city would not be running well,” Gomez said.
She thanked Commissioner Debra Placko and Vice Mayor Mike Gelin for their service. She turned to address Commissioner Marlon Bolton, who once again was on his phone during the meeting and not paying attention.
“Don’t be scared,” Gomez said to him. “But yes, please, put down your phone.”
She offered Bolton, who often gets into confrontations with the mayor and other commissioners, a truce of sorts, saying, “may everything be forgiven,” suggesting that each election is a clean slate and a chance to start fresh for the whole commission. Bolton said at the meeting he is committing to unity on the dais.
To the newly elected commissioners, Kicia Daniel and Morey Wright, Gomez said that the best time to judge a person’s character is when things are tough.
“Having worked with you through early voting, I had the pleasure of seeing your character. I hope there won’t be hard times, but if there are any, I know we will get through this together,” she added.
When Gomez first got on the city commission, she was the youngest person to serve, at 38, and the first person to work full-time while serving.
“Twelve years later, I am the oldest person on the dais, and no one is retired,” she said, adding that she is looking forward to the January 2023 Strategic Planning Session and getting input from the new commission members on moving Tamarac forward.
Gomez promised to work with her colleagues with a common sense approach that would be legally communicated through the Sunshine Laws.
“As the commissioners collaborate and champion the city’s causes in a cooperative manner, that will show the courage of our commitment to do what is right for Tamarac even if it is not easy,” she said, adding that by being consummate professionals on the dais, the commissioners serve as a catalyst for the continued building of the city’s brilliant future.
“It is my honor and privilege to serve you again as your mayor,” said Gomez to a standing ovation.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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