Buddy Dyer

Buddy Dyer
John H. "Buddy" Dyer
32nd Mayor of Orlando
Assumed office
Preceded by Glenda Evans Hood
Personal details
Born August 7, 1958 (1958-08-07) (age 53)
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Karen Dyer
Alma mater University of Florida
Brown University
Religion Presbyterian

John Hugh "Buddy" Dyer (born August 7, 1958) is mayor of Orlando, Florida, first elected in 2003. He is a member of the United States Democratic Party. Previously he represented Orlando in the Florida State Senate for ten years, including three years when he was the Senate Democratic leader.


Early life

Dyer was born in 1958 in Orlando. He grew up in nearby Kissimmee, and graduated from Osceola High School there. He began his political career after serving as an attorney and lawyer following his graduations from Brown University and the University of Florida College of Law.[1]

Political career

State Senate

Dyer's first run for political office was in 1992 for Florida's State Senate district 14, which consisted of Orlando and Sanford, Florida. Dyer had two Democratic primary opponents, Candice "Candy" Crawford (sister of former Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford and political pundit Craig Crawford) and Tim Adams, a local business owner. Dyer won the primary, but failed to get the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. Dyer received 44% of the vote, while Crawford received 39%. Adams received 17% and was eliminated. The runoff between Dyer and Crawford was highly concentrated in Orlando's African-American communities. Dyer received the support of many of the local churches as well as the endorsement of Tim Adams and Dotti Wynn (loser of the district's Republican primary). Crawford relied on local politicians like State Representative Alzo Reddick. Dyer won the runoff 54% to 44% for Crawford. He continued to the general election where he faced Republican Steve DeMino. Dyer won the general election with 56% of the vote to 46% for DeMino.

He was subsequently re-elected in 1996 and 2000, serving a total of ten years in the State Senate, where he was State Senate Democratic leader for three years. In 2002 he ran for the office of state attorney general, losing to Republican Charlie Crist.[2]



Dyer was elected the 32nd mayor of Orlando on February 25, 2003, in a special election after the previous mayor, Glenda Hood, was appointed Florida's Secretary of State. He was re-elected in 2004 in a regular election, narrowly avoiding a runoff with challenger Ken Mulvaney. He won re-election again on January 29, 2008, receiving 61% of the vote over challenger Mulvaney.[3]

Electoral fraud allegations

Following the 2004 election, Mulvaney alleged election fraud by Dyer. An investigation into the matter by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement led a grand jury to bring charges against the mayor, his campaign manager, and an election consultant for allegedly paying someone to gather absentee ballots[4] in Orlando's African American community. Such payments are illegal under Florida law. In March 2005, Dyer was suspended by Governor Jeb Bush in accordance with the Florida Constitution. In April 2005, the charges were dismissed and he was reinstated as mayor.[5]

Actions in office

In his years as mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer claims progress in realizing his vision for Orlando as a "world-class city."[6] According to his re-election campaign materials, he led Orlando out of a financial crisis and made public safety a top priority. He attracted state-of-the-art health care facilities and created a regional medical area at Lake Nona,[1] and has worked to improve all of the city's neighborhoods. During his term, Orlando has had three consecutive years of employment growth and a 2.2 percent decline in unemployment.[citation needed]

Dyer advocated a new performing arts center for Orlando and a new arena for the Orlando Magic. He worked with Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty to get approval for using US$1.1 billion of the county's Tourist Development Tax monies, collected as a surcharge on hotel rooms, to fund construction of a new arena, a new performing arts center and large-scale renovations of the Citrus Bowl. The measure received final approvals on both the city and county levels in August 2007. Later that month, local hotelier Harris Rosen launched a drive to get initiatives on the ballot to allow citizens to vote on whether they want public monies spent on these projects.[citation needed]

Mayor Dyer has attracted criticism from homeless advocates due to his support for an Orlando ordinance (passed in July 2006) that requires permits for "large group feedings" in downtown parks. The group Orlando Food Not Bombs sued Dyer and the city of Orlando over the ordinance in federal court. The court ruled in September 2008 that the ordinance was unconstitutional because it violated the group's First Amendment rights, and the city has appealed this ruling to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.[citation needed] Many critics of Dyer's support of the ban on "large group feedings" claim Dyer backs the ban to appease the wealthy residents of the Lake Eola neighborhood.

He is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.[citation needed]

Family life

Mayor Dyer and his wife Karen were married in 1989. They have two sons, Trey, who attends American University and Drew, who attends Lake Highland Preparatory School.[6]


The Orlando Sentinel named Dyer the "The most powerful person in Central Florida" for 2008.[7]


External links

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