By Mary Thurwachter

Lantana voters will have a choice for mayor in the March 19 election.

Challenging incumbent Karen Lythgoe will be George Velazquez, 57, an alternate on the town’s planning and zoning board. Although his legal name is “Jorge,” his friends call him “George” and he is using that name.

Velazquez is a political newcomer, but he has helped friends with campaigns and served on the county’s Hispanic Vote committee. He was born in Chicago, raised in Miami, and has had a home in Lantana since 2017. A former commercial real estate agent, Velazquez worked in a federal prison in Miami from 1996 to 2009.

“I’ve thought about this for a while,” he said, when asked about running for office. “I saw that there was a need in Lantana. I’d like to see more transparency in our town.”

He speaks three languages — Spanish, English and a little Italian — and was on Lantana’s education committee until it was disbanded about a year ago.

Lythgoe, 64, says she is seeking election to a full three-year term “so that I can continue the work our current council is doing to improve public safety, replacing our aging infrastructure and ensure property values stay up.”

She was elected to the council in 2020 and was acting mayor after Robert Hagerty resigned last year. During a special election earlier this year, she ran unopposed to complete the rest of Hagerty’s term, which ends in March.

Lythgoe, who works for LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said that during her tenure “we were able to obtain $6 million in grants and have the projects in flight to upgrade our water mains throughout the town. What the council has been doing is having the effect of reversing the look of the town in general. The synergy between council and staff is the best it has been in recent memory, and I don’t want that to stop.”

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