I am honored to be speaking at this event as a newly elected council member. I want to begin by thanking God. He guides me in every step, and every action, and every decision in my life. I want to thank District 1 voters for selecting me to represent you and the district. I want also to congratulate newly-elected Councilmember Valencia and re-elected Mayor Pro Tem Faessel. I look forward to working with you and well as Mayor Sidhu, and councilmembers Brandman, Moreno and O’Neil. Together I know we will accomplish great things for the city of Anaheim.
In particular, Councilmember Brandman, I look forward to working with you to focus on the particular needs of West Anaheim. I want to thank our outgoing council members, Barnes an d Kring, for the work you have done for our city.
Many of you know my story. I came to this country from Cuba as a young man to find a better life. With hard work, and the support of loved ones, I’m proud to say, I have built an incredible life right here in the city of Anaheim.
With that same work and passion, I look forward to creating a better life for all residents of Anaheim – particularly District 1. During the campaign, my wife Betty and I walked throughout the district -where we met wonderful new neighbors and our community members, and to hear about what is the most important thing for them. While our neighbors shared many hopes and concerns with me, it was clear that our neighbors were looking for a voice. I made the decision to run for office because I know I can be that voice. I bring to the council, like Mayor Sidhu and Councilmember Moreno, the voice of an immigrant – but with a unique experience.
I bring the voice of a public employee, a manager, a former teacher and a laborer. With the experience of my wife, I bring the voice of a small business owner and an entrepreneur.
I bring the voice of a homeowner, a parent and family member. From my children, I bring the voice of students. And most importantly, I bring the voice of a long-term, invested West Anaheim resident that fully understands the challenges that we face. But I know we have a bright future.
As the District 1 representative, I will serve all of Anaheim. But I will be focusing on how we, as the city, do the work that needs to be done for the long term for success of the city. I repeat, I’m looking for the long term success of the city. I believe this begins with focusing on public safety. I will be working with you and with our Anaheim police to find a way to expand our community policing in West Anaheim. In addition, we need to address the homeless issue, and the human trafficking that is plaguing Beach Boulevard. I will also be working with the staff to identify opportunities for investment in District 1 and West Anaheim. I will be seeking ways to work with local partners to induce business development. We have incredible examples in neighboring cities, and even right here in our city, where a business’s economic development has made incredible improvements for our quality of life.
I come to the council with an open mind and open ears to hear new ways to bring improved commercial and retail progress to West Anaheim. At the same time, I also support an increase in housing development. As our city grows, so does our need for more housing. And I have to say this: housing growth and economic growth go together. One won’t happen without the other one.
To our city employees: you are nervous about your future. I will work to minimize the economic impact on you and your family.
I want to thank my campaign team: Moises, Raul, Alex, Kim, and Victoria. My neighbors, Amanda, Jody, Amy, Alex and Mercedes.. To my assistant Sarah, right here in the back. And to my friends, Jose, Don and Al Valenzuela: you are amazing, in the best way possible.
I would like to close by thanking my wife Betty for her support to the campaign and for her encouragement of my decision to run for office. And to my daughter Natalie, my sons Andrew, Nicholas and Kenny, to remind you that civil engagement is not a choice, but a must.
God bless you.