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Orlando Elections Behind Us – Review of Voter Issues

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Seal of Orlando, cityoforlando.net

Now that the 2015 Orlando mayoral race is behind us, everybody is ready to get back to the business of running the city. Especially the incumbents, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and city commissioners Patty Sheehan and Sam Ings, all three of whom were re-elected to their seats this week.

But nobody should take an electoral win for granted, so before we close the books on this election, let’s review some of the things we heard voters talking about that all of our elected officials should heed as we move into the next year.

First, the growth we’ve seen downtown has been impressive, and it’s helped uplift our city’s spirit as well as its profile. But there are still huge swaths of Orlando that struggle to stay economically healthy – what’s the plan for those areas? How do we create jobs with living wages in this city? People in struggling areas would like a vision, too.

Next, racial inequity in Orlando exists, and we shouldn’t sweep it under the rug. If we learned nothing from mayoral challenger Paul Paulson’s controversial “It’s OK to be black in Orlando” signs, it’s that there is a racial divide – and white Orlando doesn’t seem to do great job of understanding black Orlando, even when it thinks it’s reaching out and being inclusive.

There are two Orlando’s – one is full of shiny new buildings and soccer stadiums and performing arts centers. Then there’s the one that’s one paycheck away from homelessness. The one that can’t afford to live in high-rise condos or buy tickets to the theater.

It may be true that a rising tide lifts all boats – but we hope the Mayor and City Council are ready to address the fact that some of ours aren’t even in the water.

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