Mayor Jacobs’ Acceptance Speech

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Mayor Jacobs’ Acceptance Speech

MAYOR JACOBS:  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my colleagues. Thank you, Stacy and Marty. Just amazing comments. Thank you so much for your faith and trust in me to lead our County through this next year.

Today is a bittersweet day, as many have said. The joy of swearing in new colleagues full of bold ideas and so much enthusiasm is tempered by the tragic loss of Steve Wexler and the absence of our dear friend and colleague Lois Wexler from our dais today. My heartaches for her and I know that yours does too.

Our community has been through so much in the last several years as the housing bubble burst and we were faced with a new reality. In order to survive, this board had to make some very painful decisions. Our community though made painful decisions too. Downsizing in the private sector costs lots of people their jobs. Businesses struggled to keep their doors opened. Life savings were lost, and the unthinkable happened as family after family lost their homes to foreclosure.

But something amazing happened. The members of this board, our employees, our not-for-profits, even the public intrinsically understood the value of pulling together in a crisis. We were not partisan. We did not point fingers. We did not take the easy route of denial. It wasn't about our egos or about our re-elections. It was about making hard choices for a healthy future, and now as a result of all of those choices, we are watching that healthy future unfold before us.

I've been thinking about this day for quite some time, reflecting on change, on loss, on where we've been and how far we can still go, and I'm reminded of the words of Michel de Montaigne, who I'm sure you all know. He was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, and he said:  “They have only stepped back in order to leap forward.”

Emerging from hard times into a bright future requires that we continue to focus on that which we have in common rather than that which divides us. It requires breaking down silos and it requires joining forces. It requires us to pull together like neighbors after a storm, and neighbors are more than just the people who live next door. They're the city next door and the city next to that. They're the county next door, and if you view it from a national perspective, it's the region next door.

My friend and Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, joked to me recently that there are two things you can see from outer space. One is the Great Wall of China and the other is the border between Miami and Broward County. I have decided to brand the next 12 months as the year of our neighbor. This will be marked by multiple efforts to pull us closer than we are today.

So how are we going to do that?  Well, I think we can start right here in our own turf by rethinking the norm. What might our roads look like if parks worked with traffic engineers to design them?  I know the traffic engineers are choking at the thought. What if human services had brainstorming sessions with libraries, or what if economic development spent an entire day per month on a bicycle tour of affordable housing?  What if we broke free from this building altogether and held our commission workshops in each other's districts? And on a broader scale, what the mayors and the chair of the tri-county region routinely began their day together over a cup of coffee? 

In the months ahead I'll be seeking your input, my colleagues and your ideas through workshops designed to share what other communities are doing to challenge the status quo. I invite our businesses, our residents, and our municipal leaders to contribute to the year of the neighbor effort and to help us stay on focus, every -- coming up soon, the items that will be on our county agenda will have a very special logo that will show items that are advancing the principles of the year of our neighbor.

I am so full of excitement about the year to come, excited about working with familiar faces, and excited to be working with my new board members, combining our voices and truly blending our visions. The future to me feels very bright and shiny and I'm eager to embrace change.

I'm humbled by the honor of being selected as your Mayor. I am committed to giving my best, nothing less, and the new ones will know about that slogan soon, to this board and to all the residents of Broward County. Together with our neighbors, we will make good things happen for Broward County and good things happen for all of South Florida because together we're better. Together, we are resilient, and together, we're strong. Thank you so much. 
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