Buddy Dyer's Inaugural Speech
February 26, 2003
City Hall Plaza
First I want to say thank you to the citizens of Orlando for entrusting
me with this job and to many of the people in the audience who worked to
get me here. As I told you last night Karen and I will never forget you
and the work you have done these past few weeks.
Today I want to briefly take a look at where we have been as a city
before I tell you where I want to lead us in the future.
You know Orlando has always been looked to as a special city. We know
Orlando as the City Beautiful, but in 1903 the citizens of Orlando
called their city the “The Phenomenal City.” The movement to rename the
city came under the watch of Mayor William H. Jewell, who began a
program to beautify the community…his efforts were successful and
following a contest to alter the motto of the city, The City Beautiful
As I have been knocking on doors in our neighborhoods, I can tell you
that few of our citizens know that Orlando has always been a center for
high-tech dating back to the 1950s when the Martin Company (later known
as Martin Marietta and now Lockheed Martin) built a facility here. This
planted the seed for other high technology businesses to follow. And the
Martin Company also planted the seed for the Florida Technological
University (now known as the University of Central Florida) to fill the
need for engineering students.
My first career, prior to going to law school, was as a Civil Engineer
and I can tell you the city has a long history of good planning and
engineering, beginning with the first City plan in 1926. This plan
described the city’s lakes as being “perhaps the principle attraction in
the city.” And today we know our lakes to be just that.
Throughout the Orlando’s history we have been blessed with strong and
bold leaders who have occupied the Mayor’s office. It was Mayor Bob Carr
who removed the “colored” drinking fountain from City Hall. It was Mayor
Carl Langford who brought professionalism to the fire and police
departments, built bridges with the African-American community and
established the Downtown Development Board and oversaw the beginning
development of the Orlando International Airport. It was Mayor Bill
Frederick who built City Hall and the Orlando Arena.
And it was Glenda Hood who shaped our neighborhoods into beautiful safe
and unique enclaves of urban tranquility creating a quality of life in
this city that can’t be matched anywhere else in Florida.
This is where we have been.
Where I want to lead us in the future will build on what has been done
in the past. And my hope is the history books will reflect that the Dyer
Administration asked citizens to imagine a great city and created just
To create that great city we must first diversify our economy. Too many
of our neighbors are working two jobs without health insurance and are
still considered the working poor. Working with the University of
Central Florida and existing businesses and I want to build on our
history of being a high-tech center in the past and shape a future for
Orlando that includes being a high tech center for the future.
A place where entrepreneurs can come and start new businesses with new
ideas and be able to tap the resources of our city and UCF. Our economic
future rests not only on our ability to attract existing corporations to
Orlando, but to grow new businesses and jobs by creating a start-up
business environment that will rival the Silicon Valley and Austin,
Second, the city needs to ensure that each of our employees is being
paid a living wage of at least $8.50 an hour. And I will urge businesses
that have contracts with the city to pay a living wage to their
employees, at least for the work that is being done on behalf of the
city. Rather than legislate this change, I will try to mediate a change
working with, rather than against, businesses.
Third, we need to revitalize our downtown. To that end, in the first 100
days of my administration we will work intensively to modify our plans
for downtown and decide what we want our downtown to look like. I
envision a downtown with restaurants, local and national retail stores,
movie theaters where a family can take in a show and professional
sports, including the Orlando Magic. But we need a solid strategic plan
in order to make that dream a reality. Mayor Hood has done an
outstanding job in bringing people back downtown to live. We need to
build on what she has done.
Fourth, we need to restore Parramore. No neighborhood has been studied
more than Parramore. The time to act is now. You can measure my success
as Mayor of Orlando by my ability to rebuild this once proud
neighborhood. My first priority will be to develop a plan that will
increase home ownership in that neighborhood and provide funds for
families to renovate homes they might already own.
Fifth, we need to muster that political will to fix our transportation
problems. Many of our neighbors spend 50 minutes going to and coming
home from work. And with the growth here in Central Florida, our traffic
problems are going to get worse, not better. No company will relocate to
a city where employees have that kind of commute. As we start this
administration, I can tell you there will be no higher priority than
providing voters with a workable solution to our transportation problems
and to that end I will work with Chairman Crotty to do just that. But
make no mistake, Orlando will be at the center and hub of any future
Sixth, we need to fix our budget problem and we need to do that without
raising property taxes, cutting police and fire protection or touching
the rainy day fund. On this issue, we will begin work today.
My campaign for Mayor was run door-to-door, neighbor-to-neighbor and my
administration will run the same way. I will be a hands-on Mayor who
will be in your neighborhoods, churches, synagogues and mosques and
labor halls working with one central idea in mind…to make Orlando a
A poet once said, “Happy are those who dream dreams and have the courage
to make them come true.” My dream for Orlando is to make this a great
city. I will work hard, but I need your help and a little bit of your
courage to make that dream a reality. But together I know we can get it
God Bless America and God Bless Orlando. Thank you.
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