Steve Breitkreuz, vice mayor of Southwest Ranches, makes a stand for faith, family and his community

Biographical information

Birth Place: Hoboken, N.J.

Years in Florida: 34

Church: First Baptist at Weston

Relationship status: Married

Children: Three daughters

Occupation: Management of information systems (In March, I became one of the many who have been laid off. …)

A bit of background

Where did you grow-up, and what was it like?

I grew up in the Northeast and in Colorado in a Christian home with wonderful parents. I look back on those days and realize that it was a very special time. I truly had the opportunity to enjoy my childhood, and my wife and I have done our best to pass on that experience to our children. In the neighborhoods that I grew up in, the kids all knew one another. We would come home from school, do our home work, eat dinner and then all meet outside to play tag, kick the can, kickball or our version of baseball. When the sun went down, I knew it was time to head home. When I heard my mom ringing the bell on the back porch, I actually went home!

Do you have a favorite sport or hobby?

I like to read and play golf, but most of my free Culture time is associated with the University of Miami. We have season tickets to baseball, football and the Ring Theatre plays, all of which my wife and I really enjoy.

Who has most shaped you as a leader – your mother or your father?

Both my father and mother cringed and questioned me when I first proposed the idea of running for office. However, that was mostly because of their view of politicians in general. … As I was growing up, they both had a tremendous influence on me which [was] key to my decision to run for office. My father was an amazing leader both in the home and at work. He had the ability to sit quietly and listen to all the facts, take it all in and then provide the wise counsel which was perfect for the situation. If I could be half as wise as my father, I would be a very fortunate person.

 

Where did you meet your spouse?

My wife and I met while we were both getting our Masters at Baylor University. The first Sunday in Waco, we happened to meet in church and noticed one another because we were the only graduate students in the class. Two weeks later we met again at a different church across town. At that point we started to realize that perhaps this was part of a plan!

What are some Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions your family practices?

We like to go camping over Thanksgiving. It is the perfect time of year here in South Florida, and it gives us all a chance to spend family time together. … And eating a turkey [while] camping is the best tasting turkey you will ever have!

Fill in the blank

First job? Delivering Newspapers

Favorite movie? “Apollo 13”

Last book read? “Red Rabbit” by Tom Clancy

Musical preference? Late 1960s and early 1970s rock

Favorite team? Miami Hurricanes

Salty or sweet? Sweet

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard? Air Force

Public leadership

What was your motivation to run for public office?

The town was considering two ordinances. One was to eliminate the zoning that allowed churches to exist in the town, and the other was to begin a new tax assessment that was designed to impact them. I did not win the election, but … neither [ordinance] was passed. Since then, I have come to know individuals across town and built relationships that I expect to last a lifetime. … It is truly an honor to serve them, represent them and lead on critical issues.

 

Can you name a key issue that you are currently working on that you hope to complete?

We are in the process of passing a code of ethics, which I pushed for, and I am very proud of. But as far as a big project, I am looking forward to building [a] public safety building that will house our BSO deputies and fire fighters. This is critical for the safety of our residents and also those of our neighboring towns.

 

Can you name a time where your faith was challenged in your position?

There is a general perception in the community that because churches do not pay taxes that they are not pulling their weight in town. There is not a general recognition of all the services that they provide and all the ways that they enrich our communities. My start in the political arena was built around the defense of the churches against two proposed ordinances that I did not feel were proper. Clearly, there are some that disagreed with me on that stand and still are unwilling to support me based on that action.

 

Do you intend to continue serving in public office?

I have always said that I will take one term at a time. I personally believe that politicians become “politicians” when it becomes a career rather than a service to the community. Up until recently, when I was part of a major layoff at the bank, I donated 90 percent of what I was paid for my public service to charity. … I never wanted to view that income as something I needed to protect. I am hopeful that when I get a full-time position again, that I will once again donate as I have done in the past. All that to say, I am hopeful that I will be in public service for a long time. … However, I know that God has a plan, and I certainly am more interested in following that plan then I am in forcing one of my own.

Public perspective

Is there a person in American history who you truly admire?

My hero in American history would have to be Ronald Reagan. I admire his positive attitude. I admire that he was always willing to speak of his faith and make it part of the larger discussion. I also admire his view of government, which is that it should be small and should generally get out of the way!

 

You have extensive experience in the banking industry. What are your thoughts on the current state of the financial industry in the U.S.?

I will just say that from an overall economy standpoint, I am encouraged by the current drop in the inventory of homes available for sale. While there are a lot of factors involved, this is the most significant leading indicator that I rely on. As the inventory decreases, home prices should stabilize, people will begin to feel more comfortable purchasing and banks will be more comfortable lending based on that stable price. … Once the buying increases, the prices will rise and people will begin to “feel” wealthier again. This will lead to an over all increase in spending, and the economy will begin to grow and expand again. Unfortunately, based on government policies, by the time that happens, we will have saddled our children and grandchildren with a load of debt that realistically will be impossible to pay off.

For more information, visit www.SouthwestRanches.org.

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