Olga- Gonzalez - Mayor - Kissimmee Olga González became the first Puerto Rican mayor in Kissimmee.
Image courtesy of Olga González

The city commissioner did not have political aspirations, but her experience working with nonprofit organizations led her to public service.

Puerto Rican Olga González won the election and is Kissimmee’s new mayor. The city commissioner defeated current city commissioner Angela Eady for the seat.

González said she did not put efforts in doing campaign for the position, as she assured that her philanthropic work spoke for her.

“They closed a center where I helped many families in need. After that, I was always looking for places to continue distributing food. People know my work,” the commissioner said.

González said she attributes her victory to God. “I’m going to walk wherever he takes me. Good things are coming to the city. When the light comes in, all the darkness comes out and God put me for that,” González told The Americano.

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Commissioner Wanda Rentas encouraged González to run for mayor, several years ago. Because she was suffering from a debilitating lung condition that kept her from walking, the idea was far from the Puerto Rican’s mind.

Rentas thought González could contribute much as a candidate because of her experience with activism in Latino communities and her work with nonprofit organizations.

González was part of a historic race for the Kissimmee mayoral chair. She faced two other Puerto Ricans in the primaries—Lisandra Román and Jackie Espinosa. Community activist Freddy Villanueva and school teacher Alvin Codner were also in the race. González and Eady prevailed.

The civic leader was born in New York City. When she was 13 years old, she moved to Santurce, Puerto Rico, with her mother. 

Working on her civic initiatives, González said she has seen firsthand the needs of single mothers who do not have enough money to pay rent and electricity. She commented that some people in need are unaware of the existence of organizations that help cover those expenses.  

“I know what it is to be a divorcee, a single mother,” González told The Americano in September. “I know a lot of things from experience. I know what it is to be homeless.” 

The elected mayor said she was homeless twice. In 1983, González was evicted from the apartment she rented for 10 years. By then she lived with her husband, Raúl González, and her three children.

As mayor, González wants to tackle eviction problems faced by Hispanic communities.

READ MORE: Puerto Rico Just Elected Its Most Politically Diverse Senate Ever

“I’ve worked a lot with homeowners’ associations,” González said. “There are many people who paid their houses for many years, and after finishing payments faced foreclosure. It’s not fair. I’m trying for everybody to raise their voices and stop the abuse. Enough is enough.”