The upcoming election is an important one in the life of our city. In District 3, it represents a choice between continuing Orlando’s great trajectory over the last decade, or “hitting the reset button.” For us, the decision is clear and easy – we proudly join Mayor Buddy Dyer in endorsing Robert Stuart’s campaign and encourage all in District 3 to vote for him between now and November 7.
As Orlando residents and former mayors, we have known and worked with Stuart and his family for many years. He is a man of integrity, compassion, and action. As a small business owner, committed community volunteer (passionately leading everything from his kids’ PTAs, to regional chambers of commerce, and the original Regional Commission on Homelessness), and non-profit leader, Stuart dedicated his life and time to Orlando well before he was elected to office. His election to the City Council was a natural extension to his life of service, not the pursuit of a “career politician” or someone looking to climb the public ladder.
While Mayor, both of us looked to Stuart for leadership on important issues facing our city. Each and every time he joyfully jumped into action leading the way on matters of critical importance to the future of Orlando.
A man of abiding faith, Stuart put it into action by chairing the board of the Christian Service Center, then serving later as its executive director. He he has served for more than 20 years when it what was initially intended to be an “interim” commitment.
This is the role where Stuart has made the most lasting impact on Orlando, leading the way in our decades-long commitment to being a compassionate city – caring for and meeting the needs of our most vulnerable – well before it was fashionable or newsworthy. This downtown ministry serves hundreds of thousands of meals per year, without government funding, meeting our fellow Orlandoans where they are and providing their most basic needs.
In recent years, recognizing a growing problem of children going home from Orange County schools hungry at night and on the weekends, Stuart created the Love Pantry to provide families with desperately needed food. The program, now in 66 local schools, doesn’t ask parents and students for anything other than they take and use only what they need. What a legacy of love and commitment to our community!
This is a great city we are proud to have served and led in years past. During the last decade we have seen amazing growth, increased safety, enhancements to our quality of life, and the continued development of a culture of compassion, inclusion, and diversity. Stuart has led on all of those issues and more. For these reasons and so many others, Stuart should continue leading on the Orlando City Council. We are proud to support him.
FORMER ORLANDO MAYOR GLENDA HOOD and FORMER ORLANDO MAYOR BILL FREDERICK