By FRANK TORRES - While being Orlando Mayor is arguably the most powerful position you can have in Central Florida, it’s unusual in the aspect that the Mayor of the City Beautiful has a municipal counterpart, who like himself is elected by the people and plays an important part in the fate of the community.
When Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs was first elected in 2010, she clashed with Buddy Dyer over funding over the Performing Arts Center. Dyer had been a supporter of Jacobs’ opponent and was on the record saying he didn’t trust her.
“Well, I don’t trust him either” she said.
Five years later, the two are doing national television appearances together and pushing partisanship aside for the mutual goal of a successful Orlando and Orange County.
“We are better together, than we are working independently” the Mayor says when I ask him about their relationship “Sometimes, it’s just easier to do what you want to do than it is to collaborate, but if you come up with this consensus, you’ve got stake-holders that are with you. It’s a heckuva a lot easier to get things done when Mayor Jacobs and I are sharing the same vision”.
Voters will head to the polls in two weeks to chose who will lead the Orlando for the next four years. While Paul Paulson has given the Dyer campaign a fight, the incumbent is still favored.
In past years, Dyer has considered a run for Florida Governor, recently he put those rumors to rest, but he’s been leading the City Beautiful for over a decade and in a job that involves a tedious routine schedule centered around ribbon cuttings and often dull hearings that include verbal abuse during public comment, there are some that question his passion for the works.
“The same thing over and over. Meetings. Critical public comment from the same six people. What are moments from the last four years that you really enjoyed.” I ask.
“That’s pretty much everyday.” he says
“Sure, but there has to be something that sticks out.” I continue.
“This is going to sound cliche’ but it’s when people walk up to me and tell me they’re proud to live in Orlando. Also, when my Son said ‘I’d never thought I’d come back to Orlando, when I went off to College’ now those kids are coming back. This is a great place to be.” he concludes