Newly elected Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn has pledged to seek a new vote on the controversial effort to remove the historic Munn Park Confederate War Veteran monument.
By Jacob Engels
Commissioner Michael Dunn held a news conference Friday to announce a new grassroots campaign effort to reverse the 4-3 decision by the outgoing city commission last week.
Save Our Statue – Lakeland, joined Dunn at the Munn Park Memorial with a crowd of over fifty citizens and coalition members. Save Our Monuments Chairman and St. Petersburg attorney Andy Strickland has also pledged additional assistance.
Other organizations represented included the Save Southern Heritage Florida and the Save Their Honor veteran’s group. All three had been very involved in supporting Michael Dunn in the run-off election that the political newcomer won in an upset victory last week.
Dunn had based part of his campaign on saving the Munn Park monument and was able to parlay that support into a surprising 54.4% of the vote over his opponent, Larry Durrance, the frontrunner and former mayor and commissioner.
Durrance ran on a platform of removing the monument. Longtime political consultant Doug Guetzloe, a monument supporter, called Dunn’s victory extraordinary.
“Very rarely can a candidate come from 8 points behind and end up winning by 7 points in a run-off, it was a big victory over an entrenched establishment opponent. The monument issue was clearly a catalyst in Dunn’s victory,” Guetzloe concluded.
In his comments yesterday, Dunn thanked the volunteers that worked countless hours on his campaign to provide the victory at the polls. Dunn also labeled the current outgoing commission as the ‘lameduck’ commission.
Keeping his campaign promise, Mr. Dunn called for a referendum on the issue in order to hear all sides, and allow the people to vote on the issue once and for all.
The new commissioner also pledged to support a new monument protection ordinance to protect all monuments in the future.
Jacob Engels is an Orlando based journalist whose work has been featured and republished in news outlets around the globe including Politico, InfoWars, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Associated Press, People Magazine, ABC, and Fox News to name a few. Mr. Engels focuses on stories that other news outlets neglect or willingly hide to curry favor among the political and business special interests in the state of Florida.