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!
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!”