On November 19th, 2018, three new members of the Tallahassee City Commission were sworn in at city hall after a bruising and competitive election season.
For the first time in recent memory, three seats were up for grabs and voters delivered victories to individuals with varied backgrounds and experiences that promises to challenge the status quo.
However, an assessment of this new city commission will have to wait for future meetings. The installation gathering was reserved for a celebration and hellos and good-byes, not bold proclamations about how ethics, crime and economic development will be addressed.
In his opening remarks, Mayor John Dailey provided a respectful break with the past while delivering a hopeful message for the future.
After thanking the outgoing commissioners, the remaining elected officials and city staff, Dailey noted the importance of the transition of power and repeated his campaign theme of inclusion.
“I said it on the campaign trail, day in and day out, it is not my city, it is not just your city, it is our city. It is important for all of us to come to the table, grab the pen and write the next chapter for the city of Tallahassee,” said Dailey.
Dianne Williams-Cox, who won her seat with the largest margin of victory among the city races, comes to the city commission with an impressive background of community involvement and the experience of serving on the planning commission.
Jeremy Matlow, the owner of Gaines Street Pies and other local businesses, won a close election against Lisa Brown. Ms. Brown, a credit union executive, was supported by a number of the political insiders. Matlow’s campaign focused on providing a voice for everyone and restoring public confidence at city hall.
Both Williams-Cox and Matlow thanked their supporters and pledged to work for the betterment of the community.
Dailey, whose father served as an elected official, has deep roots in the community. He has served as a Leon County Commissioner for ten years and has developed a reputation of a consensus builder.
However, the runoff between he and Andrew Gillum protege, Dustin Daniels, became increasingly nasty with negative mailers and social media accusations. Dailey ended up winning by less than 2,500 votes.
The next city commission meeting is December 5th.
City Commission 2018 Election Results