Coral Gables has a new mayor. On April 13, Vince Lago was chosen by the Coral Gables residents to be their next mayor, replacing Mayor Raúl Valdés-Faul after four terms in city hall.
The election’s recurring theme was marked by debate over the City Beautiful losing its character in the name of progress.
Lago defeated candidates Patricia Keon and Jackson Rip Holmes, earning around 60 percent of approximately 10,000 votes cast.
Lago, 43 celebrated his win at Bay 13 surrounded by friends and family.
“I am feeling euphoric; this is a win for the community,” said Lago. “The community sent a strong message today. We won emphatically, even over some pretty adverse situations.”
Lago was under the spotlight with news of him signing a letter issued to Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, a Miami Catholic school, stating that the school’s efforts to address racism were incompatible with its Catholic foundation. More than 15 parents and alumni, including Lago, signed the letter.
Almost 4,000 people had voted by the time the news of the letter was released last weekend.
Lago is currently serving as the vice mayor, and he is also an executive at the BDI Construction Company, which focuses on commercial constructions. Lago was against the controversial Miracle Mile zoning measure, which reduces buildings’ height from six stories to four.
Keon, 72, is a registered nurse who was re-elected to the commission in 2017 for a second four-year term. Previously, she has served in several city boards, including the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Planning and Zoning Board.
After the loss, Keon told the Miami Herald she is going to go back to being a grandmother, traveling and playing golf.
With a late start in the race, Holmes, a commercial realtor, received 463 votes. Holmes, 69, claims to have family roots dating back to the founding of Coral Gables. His campaign website states that Holmes’ grandfather knew George Merrick and purchased one of the first properties on Miracle Mile in 1930.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava shared their congratulations to Lago over Twitter.
Congratulations to my childhood friend @Vince_Lago on his election for Coral Gables Mayor. He has worked ethically and tirelessly for all of the people. No negative campaigns can smear the work he has done. pic.twitter.com/Ac4asFpdox
— Mayor Francis Suarez (@FrancisSuarez) April 14, 2021
Congratulations to Coral Gables Mayor-Elect @Vince_Lago, Miami Shores Mayor-Elect Sandra Harris, and all who won their elections tonight. I look forward to working together as we enter the final stretch of this pandemic and aim to bring economic prosperity to all of our cities.
— Daniella Levine Cava (@LevineCava) April 14, 2021
“The city made a statement today. We want someone who is transparent, who is ethical and who represents this community,” said Lago.