By: Sharon Aron Baron
It should have been a celebration for three elected officials. However, on Tuesday evening, the swearing-in ceremony for the late Mayor Skip Campbell became a tribute to his life.
With Campbell’s wife Lynn in the audience, Judge Peter Weinstein honored his friend with personal stories, along with a slide show accompanied by the “Irish Blessing” sung by the Coral Springs Charter School choir.
Dan Daley would later be sworn-in by Judge Ari Porth after winning his election for Seat 2 with 58 percent of the votes. He thanked his friends and supporters but said he would be remiss if he did not mention the challenging year that the community has had. Beginning in February with the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the death Coral Springs Firefighter Michael Matonak and Mayor Skip Campbell.
“The worst part for me was sitting a couple seats down at Mike’s funeral from our mayor, who a couple weeks later I had to sit at his funeral in the same exact room,” said Daley, who added that the year has been one of tremendous loss. “I’m confident that we will persevere because we are a resilient community and we’re not going to let anything stop us or stand in our way.”
Over the last couple of years, Daley said the commission had to make tough decisions, but he was proud to stand with Campbell and every one of his colleagues who had to make them.
“Some things were not the best political decisions. But you know what? The days are long gone in this city of kicking the can down the road. We will make the tough decisions that are in the best decision of the long-term viability of this community,” he said.
Simmons, will serve in Seat 4 and won with 57 percent of the votes. He was sworn-in by Judge Florence Taylor Barner. He paid his respects for the late Skip Campbell and said he was really looking forward in learning from him.
“It doesn’t take you but a second to sit down with Skip and see what a beautiful mind he had. It didn’t take me long to understand the true value of his heart and didn’t take me long to realize he truly was a man of the people,” said Simmons.
He said that Skip took time to meet with him and talk to him without even knowing who he was, as well as giving him tips on what he should do. Simmons told the audience that he wanted to model himself in the manner Skip did: the way he approached issues, the way he didn’t see political divisions, or party.
“He just wanted to get the job done. And in that same spirit, I will do all I can to uphold his character because that was his legacy and that’s what this community deserves.”
He told his new colleagues he looked forward in working with them in the best interest of the residents.
“Please meet me with patience and understanding as I will do the same with all of you. I do not know everything, and I will never presume so. But you can guarantee I will listen. I hope to learn from you. I hope you can learn from me as well.”