By Jill Fox
On Wednesday, Mayor Christine Hunschofsky sat on the dais for her final city commission meeting in Parkland on a day that happened to fall on her birthday.
In addition to countless birthday wishes, friends and colleagues joined the Zoom call, offering words of congratulations and thank you’s for her support over the past four years.
“You have represented the city of Parkland with great honor and respect,” said former Parkland Commissioner and Hunschofsky’s friend, Mimi Bright.
Hunschofsky moved to Parkland with her husband Hannes almost 20 years ago and first became interested in local politics while covering city news as a reporter for a magazine. She served on several city committees, and in 2013, won her first election to the District Two Commission seat. In 2016, she won the mayoral race after Michael Udine resigned to run for an open seat on the Broward County Commission.
Coconut Creek Commissioner Becky Tooley began to get emotional when she shared, “I can’t think of anybody else to replace my good friend Kristen Jacobs’ seat.”
In April, after a battle with colon cancer, Jacobs died, and Hunschofsky won the seat State House District 96 after her challenger withdrew on September 21.
Hazelle Rogers, mayor of Lauderdale Lakes and former State Rep, spoke about the new journey Hunschofsky is taking, “We know you will do well in representing your city and Broward County.”
The speeches progressed for over 45 minutes, with residents and city officials recalling memories and praising the mayor’s accomplishments.
MiraLago resident Nathaniel Klitsberg told the story about how Hunschofsky’s quick thinking saved his family’s life when stranded on a mountain in Georgia.
Cypresshead resident Ashley Gobeo and her family, including four young children in pajamas, sang happy birthday.
Ashley met Hunschofsky in 2012 when her husband, David, ran for city commission. “My kids know her well, and they are very excited she is going to represent us in Tallahassee since their uncle is an FSU alumnus,” she said.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Moser for the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department said, “Thank you for your leadership and the support that you’ve given to us.”
County Commissioner Michael Udine said Hunschofsky was one of the most knowledgeable people about the ins and outs of Parkland.
Coral Springs City Manager Frank Babinec, who once served under Hunschofsky as the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Chief, said it was a great honor to serve with her. “You always looked out for what was the best for your community, no matter what.”
An overwhelmed Hunschofsky spoke for ten minutes thanking everyone for their kind words and recounting the past.
“I never imagined the journey I would take — the common thread throughout has been my search for a sense of community, a sense of home, and a sense of purpose,” she said.
Chuckling, she asked, “Do we have some negative nellies in Parkland? Of course, we do, but don’t let their loudness or their behind-the-scenes maliciousness fool you. We have some of the most wonderful people living in this city who quietly and unassumingly show up for friends and strangers alike and work to make a difference and make the city the best place it can be.”
Hunschofsky said her favorite interactions have been being out in the community with the residents and working with our students.
“Throughout the last 20 years, being connected to the people of this community has been and will continue to be the absolute best part of living here.”
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 11 and Randi, 7.
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