Outsider Mimi May Vows to Revitalize Lake Worth in City Commission Race

Middle school teacher Mimi May never envisioned herself running for public office, but in a surprise turn, she is now fighting to change the status quo in Lake Worth Beach. After nearly three decades in the classroom, May has plans to continue serving her community–this time as a city commissioner from District 3.

A Lake Worth resident of seven years, May got her start in the community by helping to revive the College Park Neighborhood Association. She rose quickly from association treasurer to vice president to president. May’s job at the time was “fun stuff, ” organizing fundraisers, raft races, and street festivals. But her new role also exposed her to the ugly side of city politics.

“We would throw like events, and I realized we were getting some pushback from the city […] there was a suggestion of getting playground equipment for one of the parks in my neighborhood, and so we decided to do a fundraiser. And we were told no. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t cooperate with us.”

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May began attending city meetings regularly after joining the Neighborhood Association President’s Council. “I didn’t go to school studying this,” she said. “I am a sixth-grade teacher. I’ve been teaching for 26 years. I really had no desire to get involved in politics.” Regardless, May’s involvement in city affairs grew. While serving as the chair of the Lake Worth Beach Education Task Force, she saw the failures of the city commission firsthand.

Mimi May is endorsed by the Professional Firefighters of Palm Beach County.

“There were times where I had to cancel the meetings because the commissioner who was assigned to that task force wouldn’t show up. She no-called, no-showed, and I was like, that’s not fair.”

After hearing similar stories from frustrated neighbors, May started seriously considering a bid for the commission. “At first, I said, no, ‘I don’t know anything about that.’ And they said, you know, ‘but you were really involved. You’re going to every single meeting, you know what’s going on in the city, you would be good at it.’ And so I talked to my principal, who said I can teach part-time. And I said, okay.”

With her platform centered on restoring the voices of Lake Worth residents, May threw her hat into the arena, taking on incumbent city commissioner Kim Stokes.

“My platform is, let’s talk about what the residents are asking us to talk about. Let’s be available to the residents. My opponent’s phone goes straight to voicemail since the day she was elected. I felt unrepresented. The people in my neighborhood told me they felt unrepresented… and they wanted change. And what we’re seeing our commissioner do is not something that we approve of. She’s working for someone else’s cause and it’s not ours.”

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May says her primary goal is reversing the decline in Lake Worth’s quality of life, which she attributes to a lack of leadership on the city commission. Among May’s key issues are wasteful spending, crumbling infrastructure, and rising crime. “I’ve got families telling me they will not go downtown with their children. They will not go to the park with their children because they’re scared. You know, that’s how they feel. And as tax-paying residents, they should be at least heard.”

If elected, May’s plan would include seeking county and state funding to pay for social services and freeing up funding to fix the city’s infrastructure problems. “We have potholes, we have flooding, we have so many issues that as a city needs to be taken care of… If we wanted to increase the services in our city, you know, we, we should be at the table at the county level and the state level. My opponent doesn’t go outside the city to seek funding.”

Some of May’s other priorities include hiring a park ranger to maintain Lake Worth’s parks, streamlining the permitting process for homeowners and contractors, ensuring that code compliance is uniformly enforced, and expanding housing options for all income levels.

Asked about her vision for Lake Worth Beach, May says she dreams of helping the city reach its full potential. As city commissioner, she hopes to turn the city into a “destination” and bring back some of the small-town charm she feels has been lost.

“As I’m knocking on doors, I’m getting the message of we need change, we need growth. I want my streets to be clean. I want my streets to be safe. This is a very walkable city, and we want it to be a nice place to live.”

“Lake Worth is very eclectic. It’s very diverse. It’s very artsy. And we need to promote that. We need to market ourselves as a destination. And in doing so, I think we’ll start to bring in businesses and [the] growth that we need.”

The Lake Worth Beach City Commission election is scheduled for March 19. To learn more about Mimi May’s campaign, visit her website.

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