This is your new Mayor, Sam Henderson, taking the opportunity to say hello and introduce myself. I imagine it seems strange to many of you to have a new person in the middle chair here in Gulfport, and I have to say it feels strange to me as well. We have all become accustomed to Michael Yakes being the mayor over the last 22 years, and it will take a little time for everyone to get comfortable with the change. I learned a great deal from him in my last four years on council, and I will do my best to emulate the kindness and integrity that he showed during his time of service. I will also tell you that while I greatly respect and admire former Mayor Yakes, I am not Mike nor will I try to be. I am my own person. What I will do is work to be a fair, compassionate, and strong leader for our community. I give my thanks to the many people who have contacted me since the election, whether to share a concern with me or simply to offer congratulations.
I have been very busy since taking office, and I am grateful to all the people and organizations that have welcomed me to their homes, events and functions. Though my schedule doesn’t allow me to attend everything to which I am invited, please know that I do appreciate the courtesy and will do my best to attend when I can. I also want to open the door to my fellow residents, and let you know that I encourage you to communicate with me, as well as with your other council representatives. We are here to work for the betterment of the city, for you, and that requires your input. All I ask is that you be patient with your council as we have many folks who contact us, and we all have duties and obligations beyond our city service. We do not have our own personal assistants, or even our own offices for that matter, so please give us time to respond to your inquiries and messages. And just so you know, I am your representative regardless of how you voted or didn’t vote, and I will do my best to help you just the same. We are all in this together, and that means that we all have to work together. We won’t always agree, and we will have our share of missteps, but I will make every effort to navigate a true course. Thank you for doing your part to make Gulfport the best city in the state of Florida.