Dishing With “Pláticas y Platillos”: Richard Stark

By Francesca Cruz

Images: Lauren Alexis Rodriguez

Location: Lucille’s American Cafe

Makeup: Grace from Your Face by Grace 

It has become commonplace to refer to the business of politics as “dirty,” but the true purpose of a politician is to serve his or her community. We usually invite celebrities, television personalities, or social media influencers to participate in our Dishing With section, but seeing how politics is a hot topic, and all the more these days in Weston, we’ve invited Richard Stark, a member of the Florida House of Representatives (representing the 104th District) to enjoy lunch at Lucille’s American Cafe and do some dishing over milkshakes and comfort food. 

We understand you’re running for Mayor of Weston, why have you decided to make that your next step in your political career?

I love our hometown [of] Weston. Next year will be the beginning of a new era when our founding city manager will be retiring and our long serving Mayor will step down due to term limits. As a thirty-year Weston activist and finishing my last term as a State Representative, I believe that I can provide the leadership that will be needed to ensure that Weston maintains the high quality of life and public services in a cost effective manner and help meet the challenges of the future. 

In your opinion, what is it about the city of Weston that makes it so special? And to add to this question, what are things you’d like to see changed for the better?

Weston is a beautiful city with safe neighborhoods and lots of activities for seniors and kids. It is home to [a Florida branch of] Cleveland Clinic, Ultimate Software and other thriving businesses, organizations and institutions. Weston needs to improve services to new residents and veterans. We also need to find solutions to our traffic and environmental challenges, school safety [issues] and expanded tax base.

Politics can get a little dirty—what do you carry with you…Mr. Clean or boxing gloves?

Anything necessary. I roll with the punches.

When did you know your life’s calling would be politics?

When my favorite TV program was Election Night, everyone in my family knew by 6th grade that I had an interest in politics. I chose to run for political office after my children were grown. To be active politically I chose activities such as campaigning to make Weston into an incorporated city and to help form AYSO of Weston, the American Youth Soccer Organization.

Is there a difference between a politician and a public servant?

The term “politician” has come to mean self-serving and serving special interests. I have always considered myself to have been acting as a public servant, solving problems for the public and the greater good. I believe that the seats to which we are elected belong to the people.

What’s your motto in life?

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  -President Calvin Coolidge

Okay: chocolate milkshake or vanilla milkshake? 

Strawberry

Aside from milkshakes, what’s a favorite indulgence you just can’t live without?  Black licorice

What are you bringing to “the table” that makes you different? Why should our readers vote for you?  

I like the old Superman TV show introduction. TRUTH, JUSTICE, and the AMERICAN WAY. I believe in transparency in government, making strong decisions by listening and building consensus, and putting people first. This is what I do now, and will continue to do as the next Mayor of our hometown Weston.

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