April 30, 2024

Groveland Mayor Leads with Gusto and Heart

1.8 min read| Published On: April 30th, 2024|

By Amanda Valderrama

Groveland Mayor Leads with Gusto and Heart

1.8 min read| Published On: April 30th, 2024|

Evelyn Wilson

My outlook on being mayor: I don’t need a title; the position is one that gives me the ability to learn, to go to different conferences and meetings in which I can exchange ideas with others. I’ve learned in what aspects where you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. 

I was first motivated to campaign for mayor when: I heard someone on the radio say if you’re not happy with what’s going on nationally, then you need to get involved with what’s going on locally. That’s when I decided in 2009 to run for council seat representative of District 4 in Groveland. One night at a council meeting, I turned to my husband and said: ‘I’m running for mayor.’ I was elected for the first time in 2018. 

I began to fall in love with Groveland when: I became a board member of the Groveland Historical Society and Museum. Just learning about the history and the southern flavor, along with the residents is how Groveland really got into my blood.  

One of my first acts of community activism in Groveland was: When I moved into a deed-restricted community, Cascades of Groveland, in 2006. Our development was going bankrupt and my husband, another resident and I would go to all the city council meetings to know what was going on in the city and within our community. We knew the city officials well and they knew us. 

A way I connect with the community is by: Always attending all the city events we have, and I love interacting with the kids. I’ve gone into the dunk tank and worn the silly outfits. I don’t look at myself as mayor. I say I am the grandma cheerleader. In fact, the South Lake High School cheerleaders gave me a set of pompoms. The youth is the future, and I am looking to start a youth council as a way of getting them involved in knowing how government works. 

My mentors as mayor have been: The four major facilitators that were part of the Florida League of Cities in 2009. They all became my mentors because they made themselves available if I had questions; I could call, I could email. If I don’t know something or have a question, I want to be put on the right track. I will go to who I need to ask the questions I need answers to. 

I would describe myself as: A strong determined person who fights for what I believe in. 

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About the Author: Amanda Valderrama

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