Homestead held its swearing-in ceremony Tuesday November 12 one week after the general election. A new County rule caused the election certification to take longer, so it was not completed until Thursday afternoon.
Steve Losner was sworn in as Homestead’s new Mayor in the City Hall Council chambers he helped design as a Councilmember.
Flanked by his wife and son, Losner was sworn in by federal District Court Judge Jose Martinez before a standing-room-only chamber audience.
Patricia Fairclough-Staggers was next sworn in as Councilmember and Vice Mayor with her husband by her side.
New Councilmember Sean Fletcher took office as his father read the oath and his mother stood beside him.
Incumbent Councilmember Larry Roth was accompanied by his mother as the oath was administered to uphold the charter and ordinances of the City and constitutions of Florida and the United States.
Mayor Losner began his remarks by recognizing a host of elected officials and past officeholders who were present.
Former Miami Mayor Alex Penelas and former Commissioner Katy Sorenson were joined by Rep. Ana Maria Rodriquez and Commissioners from several area cities. Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace and Vice Mayor R.S. Shiver were in attendance. Staff was present from Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s office, from both Florida’s U.S. Senators’ offices, and from Commissioner Daniella Levin Cava’s office. Former Homestead Mayors were there as was the daughter of a Mayor from the late 1940s.
In final comments from Council, Councilmember Elvis Maldonado said he would be resigning his office by the end of the week. “I’ve made a decision to run for County office so this will be my last meeting,” said Maldonado. “The last ten years have been great but I’ve leaving two years ahead of time to stay involved.”
The timing of the resignation saves Homestead the expense of a special election for the seat yet sets up a Council appointment opportunity for the new board and Mayor.
After remarks by the newly-sworn Councilmembers, Mayor Losner said, “I like this short delay for swearing-in. The cooling off period allows us to reflect and accept the results and to look forward and be energized.”
“Having earned the votes of so many, I recognize this is not about me,” said Mayor Losner, “rather it’s about unity, respect, acceptance and vision. Don’t misinterpret my passion for this community as anger or disrespect. This is democracy in action as we all seek the same goals for our community.”
“The foundation we lay for our town must include a comprehensive review of our charter especially with regard to economic development and planning and building,” Losner continued. “We must also enact a strong local code of ethics and campaign finance reform to ensure voices of people are never again shouted down by unlimited dollars from special interests who do not act in the best interests of those of us who have chosen Homestead as our home.”
“A coalition came together to say No to the status quo,” Losner concluded. “I accept responsibility to represent you and to cooperate with my six colleagues with honor, integrity and transparency to build a better Homestead.”