A Florida mayor is pushing to rename U.S. 1, or Dixie Highway, after an iconic abolitionist after recently rejecting a proposal for the plan, according to Miami Herald via MSN.
Vince Lago was recently elected to be mayor of Coral Gables, Florida, but before he got his new position, he was a city commissioner. Four months ago, he joined two other commissioners in voting to reject a proposed renaming of Dixie Highway after Harriet Tubman, reporters said.
At the time, Lago claims the name change could fuel an effort to remove a statue of city founder George Merrick, who advocated for moving Black residents out of Miami in the 1930s.
“This is just a pure example of playing politics, when what we should be doing here is concentrating on issues that are affecting this community on a day-to-day basis,” Lago said during meeting back in late January. “I feel a little bit uncomfortable moving forward.”
Now the newly-elected mayor is reviving the resolution, and his actions were met with a mixed reception.
Commissioner Rhonda Anderson, who co-sponsored the legislation, told reporters Wednesday (May 19) that she “felt it was best for the mayor to take the lead.” She said she's pleased he did.
Former commissioner Patricia Keon called Lago's reversal "purely political." Not only did she bring up the Tubman resolution, but she ran against Lago and lost in the mayoral race.
“I knew when I put it on (the agenda) that the likelihood was that he’d vote against it. It was just the fact I sponsored it,” Keon said Wednesday. “It’s not about doing what’s right, it’s about doing what’s politically advantageous."
Coral Gables' rejection in January stalled the process to rename the 42 miles of roadway after nine other Florida municipalities voted to approve it. The Florida Legislature would have to give the name swap a green light, but that won't be until the next session in January 2022, reporters noted.
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