The City Council Oath of Office Ceremony: Nelson, Nolan, and Smith begin their terms

The story of Apopka began a new chapter today.

Before a capacity crowd of 500-plus friends, family, supporters, and elected officials, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson, Commissioner Alice Nolan, and Commissioner Alexander H. Smith took their oaths-of-office to join Commissioners Doug Bankson and Kyle Becker on the Apopka City Council.

The ceremony was held at the VFW/Apopka Community Center.

After being sworn-in, each new Council member gave remarks to the crowd about their path to the City Council, and their hopes for the future of Apopka. Here are Nelson, Nolan, and Smith in their own words:

Nelson became Apopka’s 24th mayor today

 “What a journey. I go back to my college days at the University of Florida where I met this lovely young lady who is now my wife. Growing up around the (Mayor John) Land family for decades I told them that what I wanted to do was come back to Apopka, marry a local girl, and I want to be an elected official somewhere. And so I needed to find an Apopka girl, but my wife is not from Apopka, she’s from Fort Myers and she had other thoughts about how that was going to turn out and she was right. We’ve been married for six campaigns and I couldn’t have done it without her. Someone in the room said if she had run against me I would’ve lost by 20 points.

Many people have helped me in this campaign by waving signs and raising money, it’s just been an amazing journey and I couldn’t be more proud of them, but I’ll tell you, today I told people I didn’t perform like I should in the debate and the reason was I feel like there was pressure that you expected me to do a good job and I sure want to make you proud of me and I’ll need your help. I served in the state and county governments, but now it’s the real deal. You’ll see me at the local events, at McDonald’s and we’re doing a cleanup this weekend. I want to be available at all times and I want to be your mayor and I think we have an amazing commission, I couldn’t be more proud of the people I’ll be serving with. They have diverse backgrounds… we’ve got a great city Council. Please be patient. We’re going to get work get to work and we’ll make you proud of Apopka.”

Nolan: “Apopka? Let’s get started working together”

“Good Afternoon Apopka!

 You have heard the saying it takes a village to raise a child.  These words could not be truer for my life. My mother, being a single mom of three made everything out of nothing. She put every superhero to shame.  Her persistence to raise her children in a great community she valued help shape who I am today. As many of you know my family roots in Apopka run deep, my family settled in the Piedmont area in 1877. They continued to commit their lives to serve their community for seven generations.  I was fortunate to grow up in a community with a rich history that valued its future generations.  The many great leaders of Apopka such as the Lands, Arrowsmiths, Deans, Hoopers, Blackwelders, and Ustlers, and Love families and the many more that spent hours of their time and commitment into the future generations, I want to tell you thank you! We are here working in our community shaping it because of you.  Here I am standing in front of the great citizens of Apopka to humbly serve “you the people”.  I do not take this responsibility lightly, the many hours that those around me put into their community and the many hours I have worked side-by-side with them will only continue as I start my job as a public servant. 
I would like to thank every person who has helped me on my journey, who has given their valuable time, contributions and love.  I especially would like to thank my mother, sisters, family, and friends for their support and many hours of sacrifice you made for me.  I would like to thank my children for believing in me no matter what came across my desk and continues to come across my desk.  Lastly… to my husband Joe, words cannot give justice for all you do for our family and community.  Thank you for always being louder and more persistent than the doubts that crossed our path.
 And Apopka? Let’s get started working together! Thank you!”


Mr. Smith goes to the City Council

“Let me start by giving thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who ordained this day. I thank God for Mr. Alonzo Williams, Jr. the 1st African American to serve on the Apopka City Council. Had there not been a first; there wouldn’t be a second or a third. To my Godfather, high school teacher, mentor and role model Mr. Billie Dean. Time will not permit me to say how thankful I am for your investment in my life. From coming to my mother’s house when I was in the fifth grade to give advice on my baby chicks that I had in my mom’s kitchen trying to keep warm; to my senior year in high school when you put me in your car and took me to Florida A & M University to attend college. Now just imagine; I, little old me; gets to sit in the seat where the two of you once sat. Thank you both for such a legacy!

 I can never forget those that paved the path for me to follow; I speak now of my grandmother, grandfather, mother and my father; who are all above looking down and smiling; (so my sisters say). They were instrumental in molding me early in life and I’m very appreciative. To my wife who has been supportive every step of the way. Allowing me to stay up late at night working on my campaign and taking off my glasses when I fell asleep. I hate to tell you, but a wise man once said: “don’t start something you’re not going to keep up” (there are more nights ahead). My family for all of their support from near and far. For their sacrifices and prayers along the journey.

To Ms. Monique Morris, and you’ve heard me say it before; the hardest working Campaign manager/Treasurer this side of the Mississippi. For your commitment and dedication to this campaign! To the entire campaign team, thank you, thank you, and thank you for your time, talent and money. You remained focus and steadfast throughout the campaign. But remember as I have told you before, the task has just begun; don’t leave me now. To my Pastor, Rev. Dr. H.L. Dericho; thank you for believing in me, for your prayers and support all along the way. My church family; I love you and there is nothing you can do about it. My Dr. Phillips (High School) Family; you know our motto: “Never less than the Best”. Many of you know the story and I want to say thank you for your support and encouragement along the way. The journey is not over.

Now to the most important individuals; the citizens of Apopka that I will serve. There are many of you that gave unselfishly of your finances to support me during the campaign. I will not begin to name you, but I want you to know that I’m appreciative for what you have done. There are those that supported me through the media in the paper or invited me to be on your talk show; what an experience! Pastors that allowed me to stand and speak to their congregations, I say thank you! I don’t take that lightly. Many of you have watched me from childhood, helped to nourish me into becoming the man I am today. My constant prayer is; ”Lord keep me humble, so you can use me in your service to others”.

My pledge to be “a voice for all of the people” remains. No one individual can do this job alone. So, as I work along with and alongside our Mayor and fellow Commissioners; we will listen to your voices and grow our city in a responsible manner while maintaining the atmosphere that we all have come to love and the reason why we call Apopka home. We cannot stop growth, but we must be good stewards and manage growth to make sure the infrastructure is in place to support it. There is no such thing as a perfect city, but if we all come together as one and listen to one another we can get pretty close. Some of our citizens have been overlooked, taken for granted and even ignored too long. It’s time for us to embrace the true meaning of “One Apopka”. Every citizen has something to offer. Our city is rich in history and we have some of the proudest citizens you will find anywhere. Many hands, the lighter the load! A city divided against itself cannot stand. TEAM; leads to success!”


  1. I would have already posted from my laptop, but unfortunately our land line phone and internet connection has been out due to someone cutting the line by digging in our neighborhood. It has been out 2 days now, and still is not right, but useable for the internet, as of right now …our phone still has a loud roar in the phone line, and our phone shows up line in use, when it is not in use? If they don’t return tomorrow to work on it more, the next street over, I’ll have to contact the company and ask, “what is going on”???

  2. They stated the doors of the VFW/Community Center opened at 11:30 for the swearing-in ceremony, but honestly, we got there about 11:40 and the place was packed full. We sat in the very back corner against the windows….if we were a few minutes later, I guess we would have gotten seats in the mop room……It was a lot of fun, hey, let’s find something else to celebrate, very soon, as this was FUN and let’s do a celebration again very soon! I am looking at the photos and don’t see my husband and me anywhere. I see that one photo of the three new public officials cutting the cake, and geesh, that brings back my memory to a time I stood there in a white dress with a cake cutter, cutting a cake with a hand over mine, many many moons ago, but you all’s day was about oaths not vows…..LOL Congratulations to all the new sworn in council members!

  3. I want you, Mayor Nelson, Commissioner Nolan, and Commissioner Smith to watch this music video, as I am posting the song label, for you all to enjoy. I am posting it to you, to log onto, for your happy special day! Google: OFFICIAL Somewhere Over the Rainbow-Iz Kamakawiwo’ole……Hope you all enjoy, this is one of my favorites! Again, good luck, and congratulations, and I will see you all at the next council meeting!

  4. Man, last night, Wednesday night, we were heading north on the 429, right about mile marker 26, heading home to Apopka, with my husband driving, and we were in the right lane, and at a slight curve, when all of a sudden my husband realized we had a driver heading right toward us, driving on the wrong side of the road!!! Talk about freaking out! I didn’t even see the car coming, as I was slumped down and looking at my cell phone. There was another car behind us in that very lane, the left lane, with the other car coming right head-on at him! The guy behind us swerved big time, into the lane behind us!………..

  5. After the wrong way driver passed by us in the left lane next to us, I got on the phone, and called 911 to report him, and said he was going to kill someone! I told the dispatcher where we were, and I didn’t know if the driver was confused somehow or impaired. I was reporting it, and we were driving on, went through the toll booth, and soon was next to the new Florida Hospital Apopka, and was telling them probably where the wrong way driver might be as of right then. They relayed my call to the WGPD, then said, “no”, it is FHP, and relayed the call on to them. All I have to say is BE CAREFUL on the 429, as we drive it all the time, and this was a first for us, but we have seen all kinds of things regularly!

  6. One time I was driving with my mom on the Beachline coming from the port, and I saw a van on the side of the road really blazing up on fire and I thought, OMG, I wonder if someone is inside!?! I had been driving along and kept seeing signs that said in an emergency dial * FHP….so that is what I immediately thought to do….well, I got FHP on the cell, and they told me to hang up, and dial 911. Last night that is what I did, called 911, and the dispatcher relayed my call over to the WGPD instead of the FHP….I try, I do….lol!

  7. On another subject, the Regions branch bank at Rock Springs Road and Welch Road in Apopka, is closing their doors for good, as of Aug. 17th, 2018, and if you bank there, you can switch your accounts to one of the other Regions bank locations. The bank’s management, in corporate headquarters in Birmingham, AL, has decided that the closest Region branch, to this one on Welch Road, is the one on 436 in Apopka, and that it can serve both areas, instead of keeping both of the two branches open……I know a lot of the City of Apopka employees bank at the Rock Springs Road/Welch location. We got a letter from the bank, is how I know. Thought someone may not know………

  8. I read the Orlando Sentinel article today about the unaccounted water woes and smart meter problems. No surprise to me. One thing about those smart meters is they save labor, having to get down on hands and knees, reading them with meter readers doing the job, but…..and this is a big but…..I hate to say it, but the guys in the water department hate the smart water meters in a way, as they break so easily, I think they complain about plastic parts stripping out on top easily, or something of that nature….that is what you get when you get “artificial intelligence” instead of “real intelligence”…..ha ha. Replacing people with machinery, “smart machinery” so they say….. the smart meters have been both a blessing and a curse!

  9. Oh, and about the RSR/Welch Road Regions Bank Branch closing for good, out there on Aug. 17th, 2018 at 2 pm…..if you have a safety deposit box rental, you need to move your belongings by Aug. 10th, 2018, as that is the last day to empty the boxes. You can transfer your safety deposit box to the other branch on 436, or one of the other Region bank branch offices, and they sent a coupon in the letter, to get a free safety deposit box rental for one year, if you have an existing box….oh, but be sure and bring your two keys and turn them in by Aug. 10th, 2018, and remove your contents, or else your box will be drilled out and the contents will be sent to the bank headquarters in Birmingham, AL, then if you don’t claim your property, it will be sent to the State of Florida, in accordance of the law, so says their letter…….DON’T FORGET…. who wants to drive to Birmingham for that errand?…lol

  10. That cake at the swearing-in ceremony, was very nicely decorated, and tasted great too. I have been looking at the topper, which was the City of Apopka logo, and now I am wondering, was that created to be edible too? If that was Aunt Gingibread’s handiwork, OMG, that is fantastic, that she can create something like that, the City of Apopka logo, that is soooo beautiful, detailed, smooth, and absolutely perfect!!! I am truly wowed!!!


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