An Open Letter to Lake Worth Residents Announcing my Campaign

Dear Lake Worth residents, homeowners, business owners, and stakeholders,

Let’s tell a new story about Lake Worth.

It is an honor and a privilege to officially announce my candidacy for Lake Worth City Commission for District 4! While it is no secret that I have been thinking about running, this week marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for the city. It’s a good time to think out loud on what the future of Lake Worth should hold.

Unfortunately, our city leaders have struggled to develop a cohesive long-term focus for Lake Worth. But it’s not because any of them are bad at their jobs. It’s because we have all allowed ourselves to be distracted by stories.

Stories about our utilities, and our downtown. Stories about our neighborhoods, and our crumbling infrastructure. Stories about years of mismanagement, and stories about our “potential”. Stories about becoming a sanctuary city, and stories about shopping carts.

And I wonder what our relatively “new” homeowners, residents, business owners, and investors are thinking when they hear these stories. More critically, what about potential future Lake Worthians – what is going through their mind?

I realized that in the midst of all this storytelling, something crucial has been lost: A comprehensive, unified, and objectified vision for Lake Worth that embraces economic development, infrastructure redevelopment, public/private partnerships and investments, and tourism.

In the absence of a collective vision and bold action, this story of Lake Worth has taken root over the last decade, and flourished, from the spillway to 18th Ave South.

I’m tired of hearing stories of the past. I’m tired of talking about our potential. And I’m tired of witnessing my Commissioners get distracted. That’s why I’m running.

As a hub of Palm Beach County’s coastal communities, we have so much to be proud of – our vast public space, our exciting downtown district, ground zero to some of the best outdoor events South Florida as to offer, and, of course, our impassioned neighborhood associations, volunteers, and advocates.

We can do the things we know we need to do and still keep our independent charm. I know that’s true, because other towns have done it. And while it may seem that advocating for the things I’ll be advocating for during my campaign are extremely unpopular, in fact, they aren’t – every day, I meet new Lake Worth residents who don’t care about the past. They just want to see Lake Worth catch up to the rest of Palm Beach County. They want to see their home values rise. They want to see improvements in schools. They want to see our infrastructure re-built. They want to see new businesses downtown. They want safer streets.

We can have it all. Certainly, at least, we owe it to ourselves to try.

Let’s think big – audaciously, in fact – and together, write a new story for Lake Worth. One in which all residents are represented, not just the super-voters. Whether you’ve been here a year or thirty, we can take action together. Let’s do it for the future. Let’s do it because Lake Worth is #WorthIt!

-Tom Copeland
Lake Worth Resident and Candidate for City Commission District 4

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