Mayor George's Inauguration Remarks
Thank you. Let’s extend a round of applause for the LHS musicians and Cub Scouts that were a part of the ceremony this afternoon. Thank you for taking time out to be a part of this special day for Lakewood.
First, I’d like to say thank you residents of Lakewood. I am honored by the faith you have shown in me and am ready for the work ahead. There are so many that deserve a thank you but I wanted to specifically thank my family. They have been my constant support system and I could not have accomplished this without them.
I’d also like to thank Mayor Summers for his service to our community and wish you well on this next phase. I also want to thank my friend, State Rep Mike Skindell for his service to Lakewood first on City Council and State Senate and now as State Representative but also for his role today as our emcee. Also a heartfelt thank you to a mentor--Lee Fisher--for his leadership as Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General of Ohio and currently as Dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and for performing today’s swearing-in ceremony.
This is certainly a full circle moment for me. Many know that my father was an inspiration to me, but Lee was also. I have fond memories of working on his campaigns.
Sixteen people have served as Mayor since the City of Lakewood’s incorporation in 1910. To my knowledge, I am the first person in Lakewood’s history to have seen her parent carry the honor and burden of this office and then serve as a mayor in her own right. I would be remiss if I did not thank my father, of course for all he sacrificed so that I could get to this moment, but also for the example he set for me so that I can succeed on behalf of this community for the next four years. Thank you, Dad.
During my time on City Council, listening on the campaign trail, and in these last two months of transition to this moment, I’ve honed in on a few themes that are important to me and I’ve heard Lakewood say are important to you as well.
Responsibility. Being Mayor of Lakewood brings with it great responsibility. 51,000 residents. 400-plus employees. A multi-million dollar budget. Safety. Streets. Economic Development. Trash pick-up. Sewers and wastewater treatment are not glamorous topics, but Lakewood’s mayor has to know these intimately and be ready to answer questions about them from citizens or regulators at the drop of a hat. I will know these issues and handle them so that you don’t have to. Improving upon municipal services that are already being delivered well like trash pick-up will be hard, but we owe it to our taxpayers to strive for more. Lakewood’s police and fire departments are models for other communities and are looking for ways to incorporate new technology and services for our community. I want them to have those tools and to provide those services. I’ve focused my thinking on how to strike a fiscally responsible balance between the wants and needs of Lakewood’s 400-plus employees, its 51,000 residents, and countless businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations. The answer is not simple, but it is straightforward--hard work. The City of Lakewood has an eager and capable staff who want their Mayor to be a leader, a partner, and an enabler for all of the good work they can and will do for our community. I look forward to it.
Opportunity. Being Mayor of Lakewood also brings with it great opportunity. There is a bright future ahead in Lakewood. Lakewood is a great place to raise a family. We have hundreds of talented and engaged citizens serving on volunteer boards and commissions. Combine that with the tremendous human capital we have in City Hall and Lakewood has the raw material to tackle any challenge and seize any opportunity. You may have heard of Smart Columbus or Smart Cities in general. These are cities that are leveraging technology to optimize existing services and improve the lives of their citizens. Smart Lakewood is how we can do more for our citizens while not increasing the burden on our taxpayers. What money we save can be reinvested in quality of life pillars like our many (but not enough) parks. The future is dynamic and Lakewood needs a Mayor who will embrace those challenges, seize those opportunities, and keep pace with peer communities who are leading the way. I look forward to it.
Finally, Unity. As Mayor of Lakewood, I will work to rebuild our sense of neighborly unity. Regardless of past decisions and quarrels, I see the next four years as an opportunity to heal old wounds, to mend fences, and to build bridges. This is a challenge I take seriously as the elected leader of this community but one we all face. Ultimately, we are stronger together. I have listened to our community, through my tenure on City Council and especially over the past several months on the campaign trail and I have heard a clear call. Lakewood is a passionate, engaged community who wants a Mayor who will lead responsibly, openly, and transparently, and embrace all the positive opportunities and positive energy that this community has to offer.
In closing, I know there is hard work to do but I am grateful for many capable hands and willing hearts with whom to share it. The challenges are great and the rewards are greater. This is what lies ahead of us and I look forward to it.
To see all the photos from the Inaugration click here
Publisher, Lakewood Observer, Inc.