November 17, 2009
Florida County Chooses 1st Openly Gay Mayor: FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Broward commissioners on Tuesday chose the county's first openly gay mayor to replace Mayor Stacy Ritter, who is stepping down after a turbulent year at the top. Commissioners made history when they unanimously elected Ken Keechl as the county's new mayor. The selection of a new mayor was part of Broward's annual changing of the guard in county leadership.
Outgoing Mayor Stacy Ritter delivered the annual State of the County address. She said the county is in good shape despite having to cut 1,300 jobs and $400 million from its budget. Keechl said "budget, budget, budget" will be at the top of his priority list as he takes office. "We've got to continue lowering taxes and streamlining government. That's what it's all about," Keechl said. "We've got a lot of challenges ahead of us. We've done a great job so far, but there's more that needs to be cut." When asked what message his being chosen as an openly gay mayor sends to the public, Keechl said, "I learned yesterday that I'm now the highest ranking openly gay mayor in the country. I didn't even know that. I've been an openly gay man for years, as a lawyer, as a businessman and as a county commissioner. Basically, it just means that I'm no different than anybody else."