What makes Lakeland?

Before any of us – candidates, reformers, citizens – decide what needs to be changed to make Lakeland different we would all be wise to discover what makes Lakeland, Lakeland. To that end, we recommend this:

City of Lakeland 2017 Demographic Guide

which can be downloaded here for easy reading on these busy days leading up to our historic city election. Take it all in. You may take exception to some of the rhetoric – it is our best foot forward after all – but digest the data and take your stand on facts.

Built upon historic character, philanthropy and volunteerism, Lakeland offers its residents, businesses and visitors a true sense of place. Incorporated in 1885, Lakeland quickly became one of the premier cities in Florida. From the inaugural railroad service in the mid-1890’s to being one of the first cities in Florida to have electricity, Lakeland has always been a hub of innovation and progressive ideas. Today, the City continues to thrive as population and business expansions are attracted to this area, the geographic center of Florida. Lakeland’s economic base consists of warehouse, transportation and distribution, education, health care, manufacturing and retail.

Lakeland has received the distinction of being on Money Magazine’s “Best Place to Live in America” list. In addition, Lakeland is home to Publix Supermarkets, Florida Southern College, which hosts the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world, and is the winter home to the Detroit Tigers.

The City of Lakeland offers an exceptional quality of life. A firm commitment to downtown development, redevelopment, historic preservation, cultural amenities, and an exceptional business-friendly environment has helped Lakeland to thrive for 130 years. Growth and progress exemplify our City all the while maintaining a sense of history and a hometown feel.

As the election season and its attendant politicking, fund-raising, and coalition-building progress, take your civic responsibility seriously and ask the office seekers what problem they’re trying to solve and how they intend to represent us. Insist on answers. And take into account that no answer is not an answer, it is merely a response, and it speaks volumes.

Engage your citizenship. This is our city. Ask. Listen. Learn. Vote!

E-mail the commissioners

But one at a time, please!


For the most part, when recipients open an email that includes others they are less inclined to take it personally. Make sure your message resonates by sending it to each commissioner separately.

Scott Franklin - Stephanie Madden -  Sara McCarley - Chad Mcleod

Bill Mutz - Bill Read - Phillip Walker

Each of these noble citizens represents all the rest of us. The four geographic designations - Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, etc. - apply only to the residency requirements for commissioners, not to their constituents. Bill Read, for instance, lives in the city's northeast quadrant and is likely to be more in tune with the businesses and neighborhoods in that area, but serves us all as our representative to the city management and staff.

It will always help to send your message to City Manager Shawn Sherouse  because it's his job to implement whatever projects, resolutions, and ordinances the Commission proposes in response to our communication.


State legislators representing Lakeland

Representative Colleen Burton

Senator Kelli Stargell