Lago Sets Agenda In Installation Address

“I want to start by thanking everyone who is joining us today. Especially my wife Olga Mari, and my daughters Mirentxu and Catalin. My dad and mom, my brother and sister, my brother in-law and sister-in-law, along with my entire family.

I want to also recognize all the elected and former elected officials who are joining us this morning – including our local and county leadership.  

I am extremely honored and immensely humbled to have been granted the opportunity to serve as mayor of Coral Gables. I am blessed to live in a city with such a rich history, vibrant culture and engaged residents.

As many of you know, I have always loved our city. It has been a place I call home and has held a very special place in my heart.

From my days as a child exploring parks with my grandfather, to spearfishing with my friends, to marrying my wife and raising my beautiful girls in the city, I am proud to live in this great City of Coral Gables and beyond blessed to live in our great country, the United States of America.

America is a place where immigrants, like my parents, can live the “American Dream,” where we all can enjoy liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am proud to live in a nation where everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation, are free to express themselves and indulge in the simple freedoms that make our country unique.

In the words of Jose Marti, “As the bones to the human body, the axle to the wheel, the wing to the bird, the air to the wing, so is liberty the essence of life. Whatever is done without it is imperfect.”

As a first generation Cuban American, my parents instilled in me patriotic values and taught me what it means to be an American and how you must work hard to fulfill your dreams. Being an American is not just a title, it is a privilege, and my interest to run for office always stemmed from my passion to serve our community and our beautiful country.

I want to thank my parents who have inspired and molded me into the man I am today, especially my father, Dr. Vicente Lago, who taught me the importance of giving back to the community from a young age. I live to make my father proud and if I grow up to be half the man he is, then I will consider my life a success.

There are some who cannot be here today, but I know they are here in spirit like my grandfather, Dr. Vicente Lago Pereda who was Chief of Public Health and a Congressman in Cuba; my grandmother who lived on Minorca for many years and was instrumental in not only my upbringing, but the upbringing of many of my closest friends who are here today when she would pick us up from Yolanda Garden School and spend our summers at Oceanfront. Also, my in-laws who I greatly admire, and their faith has always inspired me.

Most importantly, I would like to thank my wife and children for their love and support.  Without their support, I would not have made it this far. To my wife Olga Mari: thank you. Your patience and support over the years, has allowed me to dedicate time and effort towards serving our neighbors. You are my rock.

I chose to run for Mayor, because I hope to make our city a better place for the next generation, which includes my girls, Mirentxu and Catalin. I love them very much and I am grateful for our their love.

I must also thank my colleagues whom I have had the privilege to sit on the dais with; and congratulate our new incoming members to the Commission. I look forward to working together with all of you over the next few years.

As we put the election behind us and we get ready to govern, there are certain issues that we need to address if we really care for our city and its future:

First, we need to avoid falling prey to the easy temptation of injecting partisanship into local elections. Some have and will continue to push partisan politics in order to try to score easy political points in the short run. However, over the long term, partisanship will corrode the core values of our municipal governments, destroying consensus, strangling harmony, and turning compromise into a scarlet letter.

Second, we will never succeed in encouraging greater participation in our local elections if these elections keep getting funded by dark money and secret political committees. Our residents deserve to know who is behind these entities and who is funding these attacks, especially now that some media outlets have chosen to turn a blind eye to candidates who openly benefit from these mechanisms.

Finally, we must work to increase transparency in our elections and our government. I ran on a campaign of transparency and I plan to govern with transparency. Today, I am announcing that I will be reaching out to my colleagues so that together we can work with the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission to conduct an audit of city lobbying protocols and procedures, to ensure that our residents always know who is meeting with their elected officials and what positions they are advocating for.

During my last eight years as Commissioner and Vice Mayor, a lot of important milestones have been accomplished. Today, we look towards the future and we are enthusiastic to announce some of our new initiatives.

As part of my first directive as Mayor, my office is working to launch the Mayor’s Office first-ever Strategic Priorities Plan, which outlines my goals as mayor for the next two years. Beginning May 1st, I will embark on 100 days of Listening Tour where I will meet with residents, business owners, and civic organizations to listen to any concerns or ideas and will also launch a city-wide survey that will be helpful to me and my team as we aim to improve our city.

I also look forward to announcing our Transportation and Water Quality Task Forces. These groups comprised of residents will be critical in working to help us identify solutions and funding sources for the quality of life issues facing our community.

President Abraham Lincoln once said, ‘Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality’. As your Mayor, I am committed to shaping the future of our city with you. I promise you that I will do everything in my power to place the needs and concerns of residents first and move the city forward. I will continue to represent and listen to everyone in our community.

I look forward to serving you and remember, ‘my door is always open.’

God bless the City Beautiful and God bless the United States of America!”

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11 thoughts on “Lago Sets Agenda In Installation Address

  1. Congratulations Mayor Lago:

    In your acceptance speech, you quote from Jose Marti and Abe Lincoln. Both were for the Abolition of Slavery.
    Lincoln fought long and hard to defeat Dixie and that it stood for.

    We sincerely hope that the City will reconsider its vote to reject the renaming of S. Dixie Hwy to Harriet Tubman Hwy.

    Respectfully

    Modesto E. Abety
    The Committee for Harriet Tubman Hwy, Now

  2. John B. Thompson, J.D., M.A.
    5721 Riviera Drive
    Coral Gables, Florida 33146
    305-666-4366
    [email protected]

    May 3, 2021

    Mayor and City Commissioners
    Coral Gables, Florida Via e-mails

    Re: Political Action Committees and Gables Elections

    Dear Mayor and Commissioners:

    I have read with interest Vince Lago’s speech upon becoming Mayor. Here are his words that create a problem:

    “Second, we will never succeed in encouraging greater participation in our local elections if these elections keep getting funded by dark money and secret political committees. Our residents deserve to know who is behind these entities and who is funding these attacks, especially now that some media outlets have chosen to turn a blind eye to candidates who openly benefit from these mechanisms.”

    The problem with this statement, Mayor and Commissioners, is that the United States Supreme Court has determined in the Citizens United case that it is a First Amendment right to donate money to political action committees to support certain political candidates and that part of this constitutional right is the right to do so anonymously.

    One hallmark of “humility,” which our Mayor humbly claims animates him, is obeying state and national constitutions and laws whether you like constitutions and laws or not.

    The Gables Commission and Mayor, in defiance of state law, attempted to violate the state’s preemptive prohibition of gun regulation by municipalities. This “humble” defiance cost Coral Gables a great deal of wasted money in legal fees and costs, the full extent of which we will know if City Attorney Miriam Ramos ever gets around to producing the legal bills run up by this vanity lawsuit funded by Gables tax payers.

    If Mayor Lago really wants to “encourage greater participation in our local elections” then he and the Commission will not challenge settled US Supreme Court cases and state laws. Don’t you all have enough real and remediable issues to address?

    Regards, Jack Thompson

  3. You are wished the best and you will have an opportunity to keep your transparency promise next May 11th!
    City Commission will be asked to approve an Amendment for a Special Light District [SLD]at Cocoplum Phase 1. As a result of this SLD City will no longer pay for electricity/maintenance/repair of lights they have always paid for. The financial benefit to City is over $50,000/ year. PV at 3% for 99 years of $50,000 is over $1.5 million dollars. Actual savings are larger than $50K/year and it is a change in perpetuity, not just 99 years!!
    Thus far, refuses to disclose ,in petition, that it has a conflict-of-interest as it will substantially benefit.

  4. Congratulations Mayor Lago, I wish you the best for the coming years and God bless you and your family.

  5. Congratulations! Your Installation Address was on target, uplifting and quite humble, I may add.
    I am certain your leadership will be what our City needs. There will be some negative and hurtful comments from scorned residents but, they will be few and far-between.
    Your actions will speak louder than their spiteful rhetoric.
    My Best Mayor Lago!

  6. Congratulations to our new Mayor Lago and the new members of the Coral Gables Commission. I look forward to working with you all on bettering life in our City Beautiful. I would like to second a previous comment in this thread about waste collection in our City. This entire year, the garbage and recycling collection habits have been poor, they are constantly skipping collecting garbage on their assigned days during the week at my rental property. This is a major problem that needs addressing, thank you.

  7. Congrats Mayor Lago. I’d like to request the email for the parking director stop being blocked, citizens can attempt to correct fines incorrectly applied before a court appeal & hearing is requested also instruct the supervisor of that department to do his job & respond to emails I can provide his name if needed. I had my driveway painted and nowhere to park but in front of my house for 7 days before paint dried and vehicular traffic could commence on the surface along comes a citation to a homeowner. CG homeowners pay amongst the highest garbage fees in the country yet ours is left uncollected regularly.

  8. A little humility would go a long way, Vince. Don’t see it in this too long address. Sad.

  9. Congratulations Mayor Lago.
    Can you please look into the parking garage where the senior center is located. I parked there last week and could not get out. The machines were broken so I could not pay in advance and when I went to exit that machine could not read my ticket. Finally the person in the car behind me got a valet from the Palace who opened the gait. I was almost late for an appointment because it took me so long to get out. I have parked there before and always one or more of those machines is broken. We need to fix this. Parking is bad enough in Coral Gables, we don’t need to have one garage which should be avoided.

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