ORLANDO – Heading into the new year, Greater Orlando seems to be at a crossroads.
Unemployment remains stuck at double digits. Will this be another year of job losses, or will the region’s once red-hot economic engine come out of its slumber and rev up again?
The local housing market remains in weak condition, with prices still falling and foreclosures still a large part of the inventory. Will 2011 produce a turnaround, with prices finally headed up, or will the foreclosure rate stay high and keep dragging prices down?
Is Central Florida poised for a rebound, or do we all need to be more patient in our hopes for a return to better days?
Economists, politicians and academics can all debate these issues, and make predictions about where we’re headed in the next 11 months. But the bottom line is this: one thing that could break all the predictions is leadership.
Putting our region in the hands of weak leaders who make bad decisions could make an already muddled economy even worse; while strong, visionary leadership could help spark growth and business investment at any even faster rate than anyone anticipated as the year began 24 days ago.
With that in mind, Freeline Media Orlando asked its readers to nominate people for outstanding citizen of the year, someone they felt made a clear impact on the region in 2010 and could do so again as we settle into 2011. Our readers responded, and selected 12 people from a variety of fields – politics, business, law, the arts – to be considered our outstanding citizen of the year.
The nominations, sent to Freeline Media Orlando in the past two weeks, are:
- Winter Park City Commissioner Beth Dilliha
- Jim Duffy, CEO of American Theatre Corp.
- Peg Dunmire, chairman of the Florida Tea Party
- Former Congressman Alan Grayson
- Doug Guetzloe, founder of Ax the Tax and host of The Guetzloe Report
- Jim Hellsinger, artistic director of the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre
- Orlando City Commissioner Samuel Ings
- Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs
- Attorney Dean Mosley
- Attorney Fred O’Neal
- Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels
- Pamela Vordeburg, an animal rights political activist.
The nominations came in from you, the readers; now, you get to vote. Take part in this poll and let your voice be heard. Who do see as the citizen most likely to make a critical impact this year, in ways that are either grand and sweeping, or low key but still crucial to help our region prosper.
The poll will be in place until Monday, Feb. 14, then the results will be announced and the winner will be profiled in a future article in Freeline Media Orlando.