Ernie Sochin, who won reelection as vice mayor, and Sue Ellen Loyzelle, who ran unopposed for the Seat 2 council position, were sworn in and began their new terms at the Cutler Bay Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
Sworn in by town clerk Debra Eastman at the beginning of the meeting, Sochin said that he is looking forward to continuing to serve as vice mayor.
“Obviously, I’m pleased,” Sochin said the afternoon before being sworn in. “The campaign was tiring, but I learned more during those weeks out in the community about what people want and need than ever before
“I made a lot of promises to people and told them if I get re-elected I’m going to do these things, and now I’m starting to do them. I’m going to go to the schools and teach certain classes to kids. I’ve taken media people on a tour of the town and will be working to fulfill other promises.”
As far as work he will be focusing on in the months ahead there is one primary concern that he has and is determined to advance.
“One of the key things, of course, is the schools,” Sochin said. “We had a meeting on that this morning. I’m the liaison to the education committee and we’re setting up this 501kc and establishing a board and we’re going to seek funds for this so that we can help the schools directly on our own, because obviously the county is hurting and they can’t do all the things they want to do, so we’re going to try and supplement that.
“Our goal is to make Cutler Bay the town of schools, not the town of parks like other people. We want to be the town of education. The emphasis, I hope, is going to be on training kids for the kind of jobs that people aren’t prepared for. I talk to people in the trades and they can’t find people to work. All the kids are going to school learning how to go to college, but not everyone needs to go to college or should go to college. Some of them should learn how to repair an air conditioner or an automobile transmission. Apparently people are having a hard time finding those types of employees.”
Loyzelle said that she is excited about beginning the next term of office and the opportunity to continue being a part of the process of improving life in Cutler Bay.
“I truly am looking forward to serving another four years,” Loyzelle said. “I have a lot of ideas and a lot of things that I want to work with my fellow council members to implement. The main focus would be some senior initiatives and programming. Hopefully someday we’ll have a senior citizen center for the residents of the community.
I’m looking forward to working with the senior committee — it’s called Community for a Lifetime — and assessing the needs of the seniors in our town so that we can offer the programs and services that they want. We’re getting ready to do that in January, and hopefully that will give us enough information that will tell us what it is we need to provide.”
As with Sochin, schools are a significant issue for Loyzelle in the months and years ahead. But there are other issues as well.
“Of course, education is very important to our community with our new high school, so we want to do a lot of things to move our educational initiatives forward,” Loyzelle said. “There are also a lot of issues in the town related to all the road construction projects and trying to get those underway and making sure that we have smart growth and that development is done appropriately so that we’re offering new resources for the people in the town.
“There are bike paths and recreational activities and intergenerational programs. It’s just an expansion of what we’re already doing and focusing more on different services that we haven’t focused on in the first five years.”
Returning to the subject of seniors in the community and how best to help them, she mentioned some additional efforts and concerns.
“We’re bringing on a senior and adult recreational leader who can help us focus more on the population,” Loyzelle said. “We’ve done so much with the children and their needs in the community. We still have more to go, but we don’t want to forget about keeping people healthy and active as they get older so that they can continue to thrive and stay at home instead of going to an assisted living facility. If we keep them active we can make sure they age in place and be able to function in their home longer.”