The full text of Annapolis Mayor, Michael J. Pantelides who was sworn in as Annapolis’ 136th Mayor this afternoon is below.
What a great day to be an Annapolitan!
Looking around this theatre, I am humbled by your presence and the outpouring of friendship, support and dedication that I’ve received since the election. The best part of the campaign was to meet so many of you.
First, I want to thank the good Lord and my fellow citizens for giving me this great privilege to serve you as your Mayor.
I would like to also thank the Inaugural Committee for organizing this outstanding event.
I want to thank our Mayor Josh Cohen, who has poured his heart and soul into serving our great city, and especially to his family who have supported him as my family has supported me. Our families are the ones who make everything possible for us in this world. To that end, I want to thank my parents, John and Gloria Pantelides, as well as my brother Greg. Thank you for being such an important part of my life.
My grandparents came to Annapolis from Greece and Cyprus in the 1940’s and set the foundation upon which I stand today. It means a great deal to me and the Greek and Cypriot Community and it is an honor for Annapolitans to have his excellency the Ambassador of Greece, Christos P. Panagopoulos, and Mr. Neophytos J. Constantiou the Consul from the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus join us today.
It has been my life’s dream to serve this city. There are immense challenges facing our nation and our State, and Annapolis is not exempt. But I know we have what it takes to overcome, move forward and succeed. There is a tremendous wealth of talent in Annapolis — from Presidential advisors to those who teach our youth and those serve our city. For the first time, the transition process has been opened to the public. The response has been overwhelming. Over 200 of you have already come forward to be on the Citizen’s Advisory Transition Team, from our most accomplished citizens to a sixteen year old high school student looking to help in any way he can — But, in addition, I need each and every one of you to share your God given talent in making Annapolis all it can be.
We are all interconnected in this unique and diverse city. Much like a tapestry, these multi colored threads and rough fabrics, when woven together, can create a true masterpiece.
The resources are here — both human and material. We have to look at our challenges with a united vision for the future of Annapolis.
We are responsible for one another and my decisions will be guided by one principle — putting Annapolitans first.
Working with the City Council, we will set a new course. Throughout the country, citizens are disappointed because their leaders are not listening to them. I will listen to your voices.
God gave us one mouth and 2 ears to listen twice as much as we speak. One day a month any citizen can come, without an appointment, and sit down with me to address their concerns and ideas.
I will examine each department’s budget and procedure to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. You do it with your family budget and you should expect no less from us — your elected representatives.
We are a small town and I look forward to working with fellow Annapolitans Speaker Mike Busch and Senator John Astle. I also look forward to working with County Executive Laura Neuman and my fellow Greek American, Congressman John Sarbanes as well as so many other elected officials in helping bolster our city’s unique position as the Capital City.
We know the economy is struggling and I pledge to focus on helping existing city businesses succeed, expanding others and bringing new industries to create jobs for our citizens. In every department that deals with creating jobs, I will bring a special sense of urgency — but not at the expense of our environment. We can have both economic prosperity and environmental sanctity.
We will look at becoming a leader in renewable energy by using our existing city resources. Our maritime and tourism industries must be invigorated as Annapolis is world renowned for boating and is a special historical site – where Washington, Jefferson and Lafayette once walked. We have the resources – historical and cultural – to make Annapolis again — as it was referred to in Colonial times, “The Athens of the East.”
Our challenges are not all economic, as we continue to face the great damage of drug and alcohol abuse. This scourge affects all of us and knows no boundaries. Lives lost and changed forever, families in mourning, jails filled, and shattered dreams. We will increase our efforts to enhance the safety of our children, as our communities are at stake.
We also will do more in better coordinating services to our seniors and special needs population. For the first time, a special transition committee has been created to help me begin these efforts, and this is something I take with the utmost importance.
We will meet frequently with our faith based communities, non profits and government agencies because there is so much we can accomplish together.
There is so much to do and we must hold nothing back.
I will not accept excuses. Leadership means not taking a needless no for an answer.
I am asking you to join me and put your hands on the rope to pull Annapolis in a new direction.
I am confident that we will be successful at the end of our labors.
We’ll embrace the shared responsibilities that we have and we must undertake.
And together, in spirit and in service to each other,
We will succeed, we will win.
Come with me. Our journey together has just begun. We will be able to say even more proudly that special phrase which sets us apart from all others,
“I am an Annapolitan.”
Thank you, and may God bless us all.