Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy shares an emotional New Year wish for the city while presiding over the first commission meeting of 2013. He spent the holidays with his family in Connecticut, the state where the mass shooting occurred. Islander Photo: Mark Young
Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy recently returned from the holidays visiting family in Connecticut, the state that drew a nation’s mourning over the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that claimed the lives of 26.
At a Jan. 3 city meeting, an emotional Shaughnessy gave new perspective to a new year’s wish.
“We are all raised on the idea of pursuit of happiness,” said Shaughnessy. “But it suggests that happiness is something for our future, something that we have to chase, to climb toward or race to or earn it in some struggling way.”
Shaughnessy said after spending Christmas with his family in Connecticut, he was reminded of how precious life can be.
“We are looking at happiness in the face right here, that we were spared that horror that took place in Connecticut,” he said. “We are holding our happiness in our hands whether we realize it or not. We are breathing it as a gesture from someone else, a slanting of light and the joy of peace that comes to us all too infrequently and far between.”
Shaughnessy said even with the negativity and frustration that exists in the country today, “there are so many reasons for us to be happy at the beach. All we have to do is reach out, take a few moments each day to look around us and realize how lucky we are to live here in Bradenton Beach and how short life really is, and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
Shaughnessy wished a healthy and prosperous new year to citizens.
“That we will all strive in the new year to bring an atmosphere of cooperation, positive thinking and friendliness to our paradise and leave the negativity back in 2012,” he said.
Commissioner Jan Vosburgh
“My new year wish for the city is that we continue to improve and beautify our city for both our citizens and welcomed visitors. That we continue to watch the expense of the city and treat it as if it were our own money and be as prudent as possible to spend it wisely.
“That we treat our visitors with respect and be hospitable to their needs because they help pay our bills.”
Police Chief Sam Speciale
“My new year’s wish for the city may sound cliché, but it is nonetheless true in hoping everyone has a safe and prosperous new year and that everyone’s families stay healthy and safe.”
Commissioner Gay Breuler
“I’d like to see our two lawsuits finished. I also have a wonderful project going on for the city’s gateway and it looks like it’s going to happen shortly. I’m putting a lot of my attention toward projects that will benefit the city.”
Commissioner Ric Gatehouse
“My biggest wish for 2013 is that we can resolve some of the more contentious issues and put them behind us so we may get to the work of the people. I hope that everyone has a happy and prosperous new year.”
Vice Mayor Ed Straight
Vice Mayor Ed Straight did not respond to an email request for a new year wish as of press time for The Islander.