Buddy Dyer

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Buddy Dyer
Dyer in 2018
32nd Mayor of Orlando
Assumed office
March 1, 2003
Preceded byGlenda Hood
Minority Leader of the Florida Senate
In office
November 17, 1998 – November 21, 2000
Preceded byKen Jenne
Succeeded byTom Rossin
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 14th district
In office
November 17, 1992 – November 19, 2002
Preceded byRich Crotty
Succeeded byRod Smith
Personal details
John Hugh Dyer

(1958-08-07) August 7, 1958 (age 65)
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Karen Caudill
(m. 1989; div. 2017)
Susie Pinson Galloway Shields
(m. 2021)
EducationBrown University (BA)
University of Florida (JD)

John Hugh "Buddy" Dyer (born August 7, 1958) is an American politician who has served as the Mayor of Orlando since 2003. A member of the Florida Democratic Party, he is Orlando's longest-serving mayor. He previously served as a representative for Orlando in the Florida State Senate from 1992 to 2002, with the last two years serving as the Senate Democratic leader.

Early life and education[edit]

Dyer was born in 1958 in Orlando. He grew up in nearby Kissimmee, graduating from Osceola High School.[1] 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.[2]

Florida Senate (1992–2002)[edit]

Dyer speaking in 2000

Dyer's first run for political office was for Kissimmee City Council, which he lost. 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 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), while Crawford relied on State Representative Alzo Reddick. Dyer won the runoff 54% to 44%. He continued to the general election, where he faced Republican Steve DeMino, which he won with 56% of the vote.

He was re-elected in 1996 and 2000, serving 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 then-Republican (later Democrat) Charlie Crist.[3]

Mayor of Orlando (2003–present)[edit]


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.[4] Buddy Dyer was once again re-elected mayor in November 2015 with 62.5% of the vote for his fourth full term in office.[5]

Actions in office[edit]

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,[2] 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 then-Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty to get approval for using US$1.1 billion of the county's Tourist Development Tax money, 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 wanted public money 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 Orlando group of 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. 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]

Dyer was one of nine mayors who established July 15 as Social Media Giving Day in 2013, encouraging citizens to support charities via social media.[7]

In 2017, he declared July 5 as Impact Wrestling Day in the city of Orlando after joining Orlando nightclub shooting survivor Tony Marrero at an Impact event.[8]

Suspension and reinstatement[edit]

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[9] 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.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Dyer and his wife Karen Caudill got married in 1989. Together they have two sons. Dyer filed for divorce with his wife Karen on September 1, 2017; the divorce document stated the marriage was "irretrievably broken".[11][12] Dyer married his girlfriend, Susie Pinson Galloway Shields, in 2021, they had been dating for some time and were a couple during his 2019 campaign. Shields is his second marriage.[13]


The Orlando Sentinel named Dyer "The most powerful person in Central Florida" for 2008.[14]


  1. ^ "Orlando's mayor: Buddy Dyer".
  2. ^ a b Official Biography of Mayor Dyer Archived March 13, 2005, at the Wayback Machine, City of Orlando website
  3. ^ Buddy Dyer Summary, Orlando Sentinel website, accessed April 19, 2008
  4. ^ "Make most of 'mandate' – - OrlandoSentinel.com". Retrieved May 2, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Weiner, Jeff. "Orlando elections: Buddy Dyer wins as incumbents sweep City Council races". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  6. ^ "Campaign biography of Mayor Dyer". Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2021., Mayor Dyer's 2008 Campaign website
  7. ^ "Hey, Put Your Twitter Where Your Mouth Is - Social Media Explorer". July 15, 2013. Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  8. ^ Varsallone, Jim (July 6, 2017). "Orlando Mayor Dyer proclaims Impact Wrestling Day". Miami Herald.
  9. ^ "University Of Florida Professor Sees Red Over Absentee Ballot by Amy Reinink". Retrieved June 12, 2016.
  10. ^ Dyer Returns To Office, Vows 'Fresh Start'; All Charges Dropped; May 3 Special Election Cancelled Archived March 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, WESH-2 (Orlando) website, April 21, 2005
  11. ^ Weiner, Jeff. "Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, wife to divorce after 29 years of marriage". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  12. ^ "Divorce Hits Home for Orlando Mayor". Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. November 10, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  13. ^ Powers, Scott (February 14, 2021). "Buddy Dyer weds Susan Galloway". Florida Politics - Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Maxwell, Scott (December 29, 2008). "Who is the most powerful person in Central Florida?". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on December 29, 2008.

External links[edit]

Florida Senate
Preceded by Member of the Florida Senate
from the 14th district

November 17, 1992–November 19, 2002
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minority Leader of the Florida Senate
November 17, 1998–November 21, 2000
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Attorney General of Florida
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Orlando
March 1, 2003–present