Long Beach Councilmember Roberto Uranga returned to the dais this week after a four-month absence from the council due to a stroke he suffered shortly before the death of his son in September.
Uranga had been out of the public eye for months before returning to a Dec. 20 swearing-in ceremony where he participated in the ceremony with several other elected officials at the Terrace Theater in Downtown. The council had voted in October to excuse Uranga’s absence to avoid a special election from being called, something that would be required after five unexcused absences.
Uranga was elected to a third term in office in June.
He returned to the council chambers Tuesday for the first time since Sept. 13. Uranga had the stroke Sept. 21, one day before his 34-year-old son Roberto Tomas “Tito” Uranga died after battling a rare form of cancer, according to his office.
“It feels so good to be here, to see all of you,” Uranga said. “Thank you so much for all the well wishes I received over the last three months.”
Uranga said he was still in “recovery mode” and was going through physical therapy. His voice has been affected by his condition and he used a microphone headset to speak Tuesday.
An emotional Uranga said his heart was broken, but he was grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and the city during his recovery. Uranga called the council his family and welcomed his three new “family members” to the dais.
Tuesday was the first regular meeting of the council that included newly elected Councilmembers Kristina Duggan (3rd District), Megan Kerr (5th District) and Joni Ricks-Oddie (9th District).