NORTH MIAMI – Spirits were high and Haitian pride was even higher as Lucie Tondreau took the oath of office on Tuesday and made history, becoming North Miami’s first Haitian-American woman mayor.
As she took center stage, a standing-room-only crowd in the North Miami High School auditorium, 13110 N.E. Eighth Ave., erupted in thunderous applause and chants of “I love Lucie,” a take on the classic television sitcom and her campaign slogan.
Tondreau defeated Ken Burns, a former mayor, with 55 percent of the vote in a special run-off election held June 4. She took the oath of office administered by City Clerk Michael Etienne.
Carol Keys and Philippe Bien-Aime, who defeated Mary Irvin and Jacques Despinosse, for the District 2 and 3 seats, respectively, were also sworn into office.
North Miami, the fourth largest city in Miami-Dade County, is home to more than 60,000 people, including one of the largest Haitian-American population in the U.S. The National Civic League named it an All-America City.
A journalist by profession and human rights advocate at heart, Tondreau promised not to take her supporters’ faith in her lightly.
“I am excited and humbled by the trust you have placed in me through this election,” she said.
“I do remember what you have told me. I remember both your concerns and your expectations and I will do my best to fulfill them.”
Besides unifying the east and west sectors of the city, Tondreau also listed safety, business development and intergenerational programs between youth and elderly among her priorities.
Tondreau’s predecessor, Andre Pierre, said he was more than happy to pass the leadership of the city to her.
“You’ve heard of the term ‘bittersweet’ but it’s all sweetness to pass this gavel to one of the best mayors the city of North Miami could have,” Pierre said.
He cited Tondreau’s passion and experience as reasons he has full faith in her ability to move North Miami forward.
“She’s not new to this. She’s spent 28 years fighting for people and the community. She didn’t just come here overnight,” Pierre said. “Now she’s doing it at a different level where she’ll have the resources and
support of the city of North Miami to accomplish the goals and objectives of the people of North Miami.”
Miami-Dade County District 3 Commissioner Audrey Edmonson also commended the mayor. “I feel wonderful about her being the first Haitian-American woman elected and I am confident that when she says that she plans to bring unity to the city of North Miami, she will deliver on that,” Edmonson said,
For Lulande Joseph, it is a matter of pride. “As a Haitian woman, I feel proud of her and I believe she is going to do a great job.”