Luis Gonzalez has been elected the new president of Hialeah’s city council.
The decision Tuesday night was approved by the council in a unanimous, seven-member vote — the first measure implemented after the Nov. 3 municipal election.
“It is a great honor to represent the Hialeah City Council president,” Gonzalez told El Nuevo Herald shortly after his appointment.
Councilwoman Katharine Cue-Fuente was elected council vice president, also in a unanimous vote.
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Gonzalez, 45, replaces Isis Garcia-Martinez, who chaired the Hialeah council the past four years.
“I had the honor of serving as president for the past four years, but this title does not define who I am,” Garcia-Martinez said. “I will remain a public servant.
The council on Tuesday also passed a resolution proposed by Councilwoman Vivian Casáls-Muñoz to limit to two years the term of council president.
Replacing Garcia-Martinez in the presidency came amid much speculation in recent days.
Until Tuesday night, Garcia-Martinez was considered a lieutenant and political ally of Mayor Carlos Hernandez, who supported the building of Villa de las Palmas, a million-dollar real estate project.
Garcia-Martinez was one of two council members who voted against Villa de las Palmas. The other council member who voted against it was Paul “Pablito” Hernandez.
On Tuesday, Garcia-Martinez said she did not consider losing the presidency punishment for opposing a private real estate project supported by Hernandez.
“It would be unfortunate to be a punishment, but, well, [the council members] have spoken unanimously,” Garcia-Martinez said. “I hope nothing but time heals what happened. I for one am still representing the people and residents, who were the ones who elected me. “
In 2011, Garcia-Martinez became the first Hispanic woman to hold the Hialeah council presidency. Garcia-Martinez replaced Carlos Hernandez, who in turn became mayor. At that time, Julio Robaina vacated the office to run unsuccessfully for Miami-Dade County mayor.
On leaving the municipal hearing Tuesday, Mayor Hernandez said the council will continue to work toward development of Hialeah.
“Our group will continue to work for the citizens of Hialeah,” Hernandez said. “I am always very happy and very proud of the work done by the council.”