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New Sarasota mayor is youngest, 1st Hispanic to assume post

November 17, 2021 GMT

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The newest mayor of the city of Sarasota is the youngest and first Hispanic official to rise to that position.

Erik Arroyo, 31, became the ceremonial mayor after being voted unanimously by fellow city commissioners, and not through a general vote.

Following the commission vote earlier this month, Arroyo spoke briefly in Spanish and thanked his family, Latinos and his native Dominican Republic, before describing a childhood living in poverty.

His mother, he said, “worked tirelessly” to come to the U.S. as a single parent and continued to support him back home. Arroyo emigrated 15 years ago to join her.

“She knew that her son would flourish in a life of luxuries, such as a working power grid, floors that weren’t made of dirt, indoor plumbing, hot water, air conditioning and an unparalleled education,” he said. “It’s a gift to live the American dream.”

Arroyo will serve a one-year term unless re-elected by city commissioners. The role is ceremonial but he runs city commission meetings and represents the city’s 750 employees.