MARTIN COUNTY -- Like many other Americans, governmental, civic and business leaders often take time at the start of a new year to look back upon the old year to express their thanksgiving for past accomplishments and make resolutions for the future. Follow along as we hear their hopes and desires to meet the challenges and expectations of 2019.
Stuart Mayor Becky Bruner said her 2019 New Year’s Resolution is simple.
“I resolve to do my very best in representing the priorities of Stuart residents,” she said. “To me, that means making the decisions that help keep our citizens safe, contributing to an environment where our local businesses can succeed and getting to know our great city staff and my fellow commissioners even better so we can have fun working together on solving the big problems such as protecting our river, and doing the small stuff right too. We need to provide the kind of polite, responsive, caring city leadership that our residents deserve.”
Stuart City Commissioner Eula Clarke emphasized that her 2019 goals are strikingly similar to those of 2018 but need the collaboration of new faces on the City Commission in the new year.
“We do need to work together as a ‘new council’ to update our goals and vision for our city and tackle the ball fields issue, redevelopment and use of city-owned properties and all of the issues I brought up in 2018,” she said. “Our Commission needs to establish some unified goals to be achieved together. The goals in 2018 did not specify our efforts needed in the city to work towards clean water in our St. Lucie Basin and related waterways. We need to develop an economic model to revitalize East Stuart, as well as a way to encourage the development of workforce housing.”
Martin County School District Superintendent Laurie Gaylord is resolving in 2019 to help keep the School Board’s mission of educating all students for success on the forefront.
“With so many detractors these days from our mission, it is still important to keep your eye on the prize of getting an education and crossing the stage to earn a high school diploma, because it is a very difficult road without it,” she said. “I also am a proponent of the ‘kindness’ movement and think we can all give a little more of ourselves to bestow upon others through a daily act of kindness.”
Ms. Clarke’s fellow City Commissioner Kelli Glass-Leighton also hopes the new year will see improvement in the water quality of the St. Lucie River Estuary.
“My 2019 wish is for the health of our River to finally be the #1 priority for our state and federal officials,” she said. “In my opinion, it’s the biggest problem we are facing.”
Stuart City Clerk Mary Kindel said she has high hopes for the new year and plans to be very busy in 2019.
“I am looking forward to offering internal training, updates to web information for better communication, increase efficiency in public records and making the Clerk’s Department a great resource for the City of Stuart,” she said.
Martin County School Board Member Christia Li Roberts is inspired by the community engagement and voter support for education in 2018 but also apprehensive about the direction state officials in Tallahassee are taking in public education.
“My New Year's Resolution is to furnish understandable information for our residents and taxpayers to minimize the confusion and offer much-needed clarity as the Martin County School District continues to provide opportunities and alternatives to educate all students for success,” she said. “With the passing of two funding referendums, it is crystal clear that our community supports and values public education. It is now the job of the Martin County School Board to supply accountability of those funds and continue the conversation -- explaining limitations and restrictions that are out of our local control -- while exploring and proposing alternate solutions and remedies.”
Ms. Roberts also expressed a wish for 2019 that government officials in Tallahassee truly understand “the local implications and consequences” of their actions.
“One size does not fit all, and all Florida school districts are not alike,” she insisted. “As well-meaning legislators consider laws with the best of intentions, it would be refreshing and prudent to consult with those in the trenches to understand all the pieces of the puzzle.”
Stuart Police Chief, Joseph Tumminelli wants to find the perfect balance in 2019 between law enforcement and community interaction.
“As for internal and work resolutions, I would like to further the Police Department’s accomplishments by creating new programs that would benefit the community, while not wavering on the criminal side of my job,” he said. “I would like to remain hard on crime and balancing the community side of policing. Additionally, I am willing to try more innovative strategies to accomplish these goals.”