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MAYORAL CANDIDATES

DANIELLA LEVINE

CAVA

BIOGRAPHY

Born in New York and raised partly in Latin America, I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors from Yale University and graduate degrees in law and social work from Columbia University. I moved to my husband’s hometown of Miami in the 1980s and have spent the last 40 years in Miami-Dade being a force for good. First through Legal Services of Greater Miami, the Guardian Ad Litem program and the Department of Children and Families, then by starting the nonprofit Catalyst Miami, and finally as your South Dade Commissioner and your voice in County Hall. Throughout my life, I have been guided by the desire to give back to my community and stand up against the status quo to protect our environment, expand public transit, support working families, and hold special interests accountable. I’m running for Miami-Dade County Mayor to be the first woman mayor of our County, to lead through this pandemic, and to come out on the other side addressing our broken transit system, a rampant affordability crisis, and the imminent threat of climate change. As Mayor, I’ll build a broad, diverse coalition to face these issues and bring a brighter future to Miami-Dade.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

The spread of COVID-19 has highlighted many of the issues that are most pressing and that we must tackle in order to deliver a better future for all Miami-Dade’s residents. To address the existing affordability problem exacerbated by the virus, we can ensure our employees are paid a living wage, that we improve and expand affordable housing offerings, and that our public transit gives them access to more jobs and opportunities around the county. To improve transit, we must address reliability issues and create new corridors to connect economic opportunity with populations around the county. Lastly, we must prepare the county for climate change that we are already witnessing. Larger storms, more frequent floods, and hotter summers will pose issues especially for our most disadvantaged residents – we must do a better job of preparing ourselves and our county to mitigate these changes and protect vulnerable populations from their effects. Addressing our County’s affordability crisis, improving our public transit offerings, and transforming Miami-Dade into a climate leader are three of the most important priorities I will have as Mayor. That’s why I’ve already released a SECURE plan relating how we should approach the COVID crisis, and an EMPOWER plan to reinvigorate some of our forgotten communities including by addressing police accountability. I’ll be your Mayor with a plan and set forth from day one to deliver on these promises.

MONIQUE NICOLE

BARLEY

BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in Miami Florida, I’m 37 years old. The schools I’ve attended we’re Lorah Park Elementary School, Miami Springs Middle, Horach Mann Middle, Miami Northwestern Senior High,Florida Memorial and ASA College. I’m a certified Medical Biller and Coder. I’m currently seeking my degree in Business Administration at Miami Dade Community College which is put on hold during the election. In 2011 i Started my very own Debt Collection Agency. I’m a debt buyer.The reason behind the purchase of charge off debts is to help consumers restore their credit by allowing them to settle at an affordable percentage. I’m the founder of Broken But Healed foundation i started the foundation in 2005 the name at the time was B.A.R.L.E.Y and it stood for Bettering America by remembering and Loving every Youth. However i decided to change the name to Broken But healed because no matter the age there’s always someone in this cold world that was once broken and somehow healed. My foundation service domestic violence victims rather male or female and i also service veterans. While i lived in North Carolina i decided to become a member of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Business Board. I dedicated my time to feeding the families at the Salvation Army. And made Christmas happen to families that lived in transition homes. In 2016 after becoming the office manager for former State Representative Roy Hardemon i decided to run for office. I didn’t know what office i wanted to run for until i found the one that best fits my experience. The County Mayor is a overseer and handles big projects with a big budget. I was always told to aim high and this is what I’m doing aiming high. My experience in accountant and Human Resources gives me the opportunity to demonstrate my skills. My heart is deeply into providing a better quality of life for all. My top project is economic development, I’m looking to give opportunities by creating jobs which will then decrease gun violence. By creating jobs will also give our residents an opportunity to live affordable. Another project i want to accomplish is to create a self sufficient program which will in detail help our resident with financial Literacy. And to help them become first time home owners. We need more home owners in our county. I hope when you fill out your ballot don’t think about the rich candidates think about the ones who’s running because it’s a passion and that we are true public service workers. I’m working for you and I’m looking forward to delivering excellence everyday.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

 Better transportation Economic development Affordable housing- a program to help low income families to become self sufficient and teach financial literacy to help families to become first time home buyers

ALEXANDER "ALEX" PENELAS

BIOGRAPHY

Penelas, an American of Cuban descent, attended college at St. Thomas University. In 1985, he received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law, where he graduated Cum Laude and was inducted into the University's Iron Arrow Honor Society. Penelas and his wife, Lilliam, have two adult sons, William and Christopher , and a younger daughter, Alexandra. Alex Penelas served on the city council of Hialeah, Florida, from 1987 to 1990. In 1990, he was elected to serve as a county commissioner in Dade County. On October 1, 1996, Penelas became the first countywide elected Strong Mayor of Dade County (renamed Miami-Dade County in 1997).

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

I intend to launch a bold and comprehensive agenda to foster engagement, inclusivity, transformation, and success for Miami-Dade’s Black residents, businesses, and their historic communities. The focal points of this effort will include policing and gun violence, economic equity, neighborhood affordability, healthcare, and County contracting.

LUDMILLA DOMOND

BIOGRAPHY

On May 22, 1978, a beautiful baby girl was born to Odette Magalie Romelus and Joseph Domond in Port Au Prince, Haiti.  The name given to her was, Ludmilla Domond. In February 1986, during the same time Jean Claude Duvalier fled Haiti, the three Domond sisters entered the land of the free, through the gates of Miami by way of Eastern Airlines.  Ludmilla Domond was only seven years old and started school in Holmes Elementary in the heart and inner city of Miami. In 1987, Ludmilla begin her second-grade year at North Miami Elementary and continued her schooling until the end of her eight-grade year. In the summer before her ninth-grade year, Ludmilla moved to Brooklyn, New York where she lived with her mother’s side of her family. As a new student at John Dewey High School, Ms. Domond’s love for school increased as she excelled academically. In April 1995, Ludmilla was forced to move back to Miami after the death of her mother in Haiti. There in Miami, Ludmilla completed her high school at North Miami Senior High.

 

Ludmilla Domond furthered her education at Florida International University in the summer of 1997. She obtained a Bachelor’s in Science in International Business and Management and then further her education at Saint Thomas University where she will be completing a Master’s of Arts in Pastoral Ministry with a focus in Education.  Ludmilla has already made her decision to continue her education at Saint Thomas University where she has already been accepted into the phd program where she will be receiving her phd in Ethical Leadership and Education.  Thus far, if her drive to further her education does not lay it out for you clearly, Ludmilla has a strong passion for education and to educate the youth of Miami-Dade county.

 

Ludmilla Domond has been working since the age of sixteen and has always enjoyed working with the public. Ludmilla Domond is the mother of a sixteen year old young man who enjoys school and people.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Improve community safety, improve school safey, affordable hosuing for all, ending domestic violene & human trafficakling, better education, create a better transit mobility.

XAVIER SUAREZ

BIOGRAPHY

Xavier Louis Suarez is an American politician in Miami who was the first Cuban-born mayor of Miami and is currently a Miami-Dade county commissioner. Suarez was first elected mayor in 1985. He was re-elected in 1987 and again in 1989 for a four-year term. Suarez was highly regarded as mayor of Miami. As the mayor of Miami, Florida Xavier Suárez, declared "Yahweh ben Yahweh Day" on October 7, 1990. According to a March 30, 1993 article in the Miami Herald, "In 1989, [Suárez] won national admiration when he waded through hostile crowds in Overtown during civil disturbances to try to make peace." Suarez cited the construction of 1,500 affordable homes as one of his "proudest achievements" during his tenure. He was also given the name "pothole mayor" for his attention to city neighborhoods. In 1993 Suarez got the Latin Builder's Association to donate $150,000 to rebuild the only Catholic elementary school in Overtown. He decided not to run again in 1993 in order to spend more time with his family. He returned to practice law in Miami before he decided to run again in November 1997 and was re-elected. Suarez was elected as a Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 7 on May 24, 2011 and was re-elected by a 44 point margin on August 30, 2016. During his tenure as commissioner, Suarez continued to advocate for affordable housing, as well as workforce development programs and funding for public transit.

CARLOS ANTONIO DE ARMAS

BIOGRAPHY

Carlos De Armas is a former Banker, Entrepreneur, and Consultant, who has decided to run for Mayor of Miami-Dade to work on those issues already due for decades. Carlos holds a Master's degree from FIU, a undergraduate degree in Business Administration & Finance, and studies of Electronic Engineering. Carlos De Armas is the father of three children (14. 12, and 10). He was born and raised in Colombia and living in Miami since 2005.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

I have drafted a comprehensive and ambitious government plan based on information gathered for more than a years from around five thousand people. Such plan is designed to resolve those 20. 40, or 40 years old, already due, issues in housing, transportation, social tissue, education, safety, environment, etc... 

ESTEBAN L. BOVO Jr.

BIOGRAPHY

Esteban L. Bovo, Jr. was born on June 12, 1962 in Queens, New York to Marilyn and Esteban Bovo-Carás. As a member of the 2506 Brigade, Esteban Bovo’s father instilled in his son the value of fighting for justice while his mother taught him the importance of compassion and service to the community. Esteban Bovo has been a proud resident of Miami-Dade County for over 47 years and holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Florida International University. He is married to Viviana and has five children; Oscar, Bianca, Esteban, Sofia, and Alessandro. Esteban L. Bovo, Jr. was elected in 2011 to serve as the Miami-Dade County Commissioner representing District 13, which includes Hialeah, Miami Lakes, Palm Springs North, and neighboring areas of unincorporated Miami-Dade. On December 6th, 2016 Commissioner Bovo was elected Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners for the 2017-2018 term.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Oppose and veto any effort that increases property taxes and/or seeks to raise the millage rate. • Eliminate cronyism and “pay to play” culture that has corrupted contracts, such as Miami International Airport. • Govern with integrity by keeping the promises made to our residents. • Eliminate NO bid contracts, by requiring transparency and fairness in the procurement process. • Oppose all managed toll lanes on 826 (the Palmetto). • Keep our neighborhoods and schools safe. • Protect our Beaches and Everglades for our quality of life and prosperity. • Work with the State and Federal partners to address water quality issues; and put forth a serious transit expansion plan.

 

COUNTY COMMISSION 9

KIONEE MCGHEE

BIOGRAPHY

I am your current State Representative and House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee. As your State Representative for the past 8 years, I am running to continue fighting for our South Dade community. I was born and raised in Naranja by a single mother who worked hard to ensure I could achieve my God Given talents. I have the experience of overcoming many challenges and obstacles throughout my life, including being a victim of gun violence and police brutality. I earned my law degree and became an attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. In 2012, my community elected me to serve in the Florida Legislature. In 2018, I had the honor of being elected the House Minority Leader. I fought for funding transportation, raising the minimum wage, police body cameras, rights for former felons, funding for affordable housing, raising our teachers, personnel, and state workers’ salaries, to name a few. Our work is not done. To Keep South Dade moving forward, we will need a proven leader who has fought the battles and is prepared to take it to the next level.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

As your next County Commissioner for District 9, I would focus on the following issues for our South Dade community: Transportation is an important issue to every resident in South Dade. We were promised rail for years but South Dade never received it. Better transportation will bring more jobs, alleviate traffic, and improve the quality of life for our South Dade residents. The lack of affordable housing is an issue that is hurting our seniors and workers who want to provide a decent life for their families. I fought to fully fund the Sadwoski Trust Fund to ensure we will have more affordable housing in our County. We also need to make sure we have workforce housing available to those who graduate and workers. I have the relationships that are needed to bring our public and private partners together to address this. Gun Violence continues to plague our community. I have gone to too many funerals and have comforted too many parents and families of victims. I will work with all stakeholders to keep our community safe, while also providing educational and employment opportunities for our youth.

MARLON HILL

BIOGRAPHY

Born in Jamaica and raised in the District 9 working class neighborhood of South Miami Heights, Marlon is a first generation American and Hall of Fame alumnus of Miami Southridge Senior High School and has lived in District 9 since 1985. At Miami Southridge Senior High School, Marlon excelled in and outside the classroom and worked part-time at the local Cutler Ridge (now Southland) Mall before departing on a partial scholarship to Florida State University. Marlon is a double ‘Nole where he successfully completed business and law degrees, along with study abroad programs in Costa Rica and Barbados. At FSU, Marlon met his wife, Carla, of 21 years. Both Marlon and Carla learned that both of their families lived in South Miami Heights. Returning to Miami in 1995 from college, Marlon and Carla married in 1998 and purchased their first home in the Bonita Lakes community in 2001 where they have resided since. Known for his entrepreneurial acumen as a business lawyer, Marlon is also known for his local activism in support of issues such as civic engagement, voter education, breast cancer awareness and youth mentorship. As a past president of the Caribbean Bar Association and trustee of the Miami Foundation, Marlon has also served as an avid advocate for issues impacting communities of color. As a partner at the law firm of Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, Marlon presently serves as a board member of the Miami Parking Authority, Orange Bowl Committee, and Miami Book Fair International. Marlon is also an active member of his local Richmond-Perrine Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Marlon is married to Carla for 21 years and has a passion for arts & culture, soccer (futbol), and mentoring the next generation of leaders.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS Housing Affordability is a growing economic issue that can’t be ignored and in Miami-Dade this is not a temporary problem. Rising prices, population growth, speculative investment, and stagnant wages — are all moving in the wrong direction. When elected to the county commission, I will pursue policies and advocate for investments to support the advancement of more workforce and/or affordable housing in collaboration with developers on private and infill properties in South Miami-Dade County. TRANSPORTATION We are all frustrated at the length of time to get from home to work. The traffic gridlock presents a threat to our public safety, our economy and most importantly our quality of life. I am committed to fighting for transit expansion that would deliver relief for all of South Dade. I will be advocating for policies to be reflected in our budget and in tandem with other funding sources to improve our transportation network for all of Miami-Dade County. ENVIRONMENT Environmental neglects keep rising and those neglects will only harm the generation we leave behind. From sea level rise to pollution to the quality of drinking water to the beauty of our public parks, the environment is an important part of our quality of life. The growth of our economy and housing inventory must be balanced with the preservation of these natural assets to our region. SAFETY As our community grows it deserves, we need to continue to find ways for our families to be safe. As your County Commissioner, I will be vigilant in creating an environment of community policing that nurtures an intimate relationship with community stakeholders and law enforcement. In addition, I commit to creating more opportunities for our unique communities to build a greater sense of family and care for each other.

*info pulled from candidates website

MARK COATS

BIOGRAPHY

Mark Coats and his family have a long historical tie to the South Miami communities. As a proud Cobra, Mark Coats graduated from South Miami Senior High School. He followed his family legacy of civic service, and applied for admission in the New Orleans Theological Seminary for Divinity Studies. Thereafter, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies from Baptist College of Florida. This educational achievement allowed him to serve for over 19 years as Pastor for Grace of God Baptist Church in the heart of Miami-Dade’s District 9. Mark Coats was a public servant for over 20 years, first as a Commission Aide and Chief-of-Staff to City Commissioner Victor De Yurre at the City of Miami. He later was Special Assistant to Miami-Dade County, Mayor Alex Penelas. Over the years, Mark Coats has assumed many community leadership roles: he has, for instance, been a member of the Miami Rivers of Life Diversionary Program for juveniles in the justice system Advisory Board; he has also been a member of the Board of Director of the One Church-One Child program, after appointed by both Governor Lawton Childs and Governor Jeb Bush. Mark Coats loves being a husband, a father and a grandfather. In his private time, he enjoys reading and mentoring young people in the community. Mark Coats and his wife Tina run a K-12 school that educates students from the Goulds, in the Homestead area.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Improve the social, economic, and governmental needs in District 9

*info pulled from candidates website

JOHNNY G. FARIAS

BIOGRAPHY

Ecuadorian-born, licensed electrician and U.S. Navy veteran, Johnny G. Farias is seeking to serve the South Dade community as the next Miami-Dade County Commissioner District 9, August 18, 2020. Johnny, who currently serves as a Vice-Chair of Miami-Dade County Community Council of District 15, Subarea 154, which encompasses commission district 9, has been a licensed electrician for over 20 years and holds an A.S. in political science from Miami Dade College. He has been an active community member through many local organizations, such as Centro Campesino (Board Member), Liga Ecuatoriana de Florida (member), NAACP (member), South Dade Democratic Black Caucus-Ron Brown Chapter (member), Shriners, Scottish Rite, and a Mason. He also sits on several EESAC Boards; Everglades Preparatory High School and McArthur Senior High. He was also a Guardian at Litem from 2006 to 2012 and a Girl Scout Leader for twelve years (1993 - 2006). Johnny is a husband and father of five.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

JOBS: Make it a requirement that the workers need to be a resident for more than one year. This will open the opportunity for our actual residents to have the opportunity of employment. We can create jobs by incentives to existing businesses and for creating new businesses. We can start incubators in Homestead and Florida City. Infrastructure: Our roads are under construction every day it seems to never end. There are areas that need street lights, while other areas have lights, but the lights are not on. Yet we settle for this and we should not. In some areas, I have heard we need bridges to divert the accumulation of traffic, we need to investigate this as well. Tolls & Transportation A Dade County Resident discount program. Why are we funding the tolls and paying as if we were tourists in our own backyard? A percentage of the tolls collected must be earmarked for South Dade only. The public transportation is not accessible down south. We need to take back control of our invested dollars that we voted on to modernize and expand our metro rail and buses so we have quality transportation options. Safety - Community & Officers Our officers must meet the needs of the community it serves, so both the community and the officers understand the social and economic hardships of the community. We need to hold all our officers accountable and to a higher standard because of their duties they signed up for. We need more investment in technology as "Shot Spotter", a gunshot detection system. I would saturate areas that are identified as hot spots with cameras. The technology is there we just need a champion to push this forward. Education We need to make sure we give our teachers the proper resources, such as books, curriculum, and wages. Our kids are the future, but we need to give them an opportunity. We need summer programs back in place. I want to bring a tradesmen school to our district, so our youth have opportunities other than college. 

*info pulled from candidates website

ELVIS MALDONADO

BIOGRAPHY

Elvis Maldonado has dedicated most of his adult life to serving others as a community advocate and as a City of Homestead Councilman since 2009 where he has subsequently been re-elected. Mr. Maldonado’s proven record of public service and personal commitment and engagement to the South Dade community, makes him uniquely qualified to serve as County Commissioner. He’s currently the only candidate in the County District 9 commission race with local government experience.

 

As a result of his excellence in public service, Councilman Maldonado was selected to serve as Chair of the 2019-2020 Florida League of Cities Legislative Policy Committee on Transportation & Intergovernmental Relations. During his tenure as Chairman, Mr. Maldonado has led the way in addressing municipal concerns relating to transportation and highway safety, as well as aviation, affordable housing, building codes, charter schools and veterans affairs. Moreover, Mr. Maldonado’s community involvement extends to serving on the Homestead City Charter Review Board and as a former Chair of the Community Development District (CDD).

 

As a Councilman who comes from a diverse leadership background, Mr. Maldonado serves as Chair of the Best Practices/New Trends Committee and is the Homestead Liaison for the Miami-Dade League of Cities. As a respected small business owner, Councilman Maldonado sits, along with other business and community leaders, county and municipal elected officials, on the Board of Directors of the prestigious Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the official economic development organization for Miami-Dade County. Being a strong advocate for education at all levels, Councilman Maldonado has mentored many young students while serving as Outreach Counselor at Homestead Senior High School, ASPIRA South Charter School and Homestead Middle School.

Councilman Maldonado has made the City of Homestead his home since the age of 5. Mr. Maldonado is the devoted father of two, young adult women. Being widowed as a young man, he single-handedly raised his young daughters while juggling his responsibilities as a committed small business owner and dedicated public servant. He graduated from Florida Computer and Business College in 1998.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Transportation: Bring about the long-promised, but never delivered, state-of-the-art transportation systems like light rail to South and west Miami-Dade to improve resident mobility and alleviate much-needed traffic congestion. Encourage new, large and small businesses to locate their operations in southern and western Miami-Dade County, thereby, reversing the congestive traffic flows from the major business hubs currently located in the easternmost part of the county. This would eliminate the need of many residents from commuting long hours. Propose legislation calling for a county-wide moratorium on highway tolls administered by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) until such time as the Florida Legislature and the County Commission complete a thorough and independent audit of MDX’s daily operations, it’s expenditures, and future plans.

Affordability: I will fight to pass legislation which would increase the current caps the County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund is able to spend on affordable housing projects, as well as accelerate the release of these funds, once they are allocated, so that the monies targeted for affordable housing do not sit idle, year after year – so that more projects may be built at a faster rate. I will also demand that until this affordability crisis is under control, the County’s Affordable Housing Fund’s annual budget be significantly increased to accommodate the needs of lower-and middle-class working families who are in need of stable and affordable housing. Incentivize our business community to invest more in our county’s workforce housing program to provide affordable housing opportunities for our first responders, teachers and nurses.

Small Businesses: I will pass legislation allowing new and existing small businesses to open their doors faster and expand their operations by reforming the burdensome permitting process, eliminating needless bureaucratic hurdles, and cutting red tape so that local government becomes a true partner and not an obstacle to small businesses. I will propose legislation for the expansion of the County’s popular “Mom & Pop” Small Business Grant Program by doubling the amount of grant money the county provides annually so that more struggling small businesses can benefit from this valuable program, as well as allowing new and qualified businesses, and startups to access this program. Incentivize our local colleges and universities to expand their curriculums to offer more vocational courses in trades in order to prepare the many young men and women, not inclined for a traditional education, to obtain the skills necessary for them to build fruitful careers and become part of our workforce at a much faster rate. I will work tirelessly with local, state and national economic development organizations and institutions in order to attract large and small businesses from around the country to relocate their operations and make Miami-Dade County their new home, and provide our residents with the quality, high-paying jobs they need and deserve.

 

Climate Change: I will pass legislation allowing new and existing small businesses to open their doors faster and expand their operations by reforming the burdensome permitting process, eliminating needless bureaucratic hurdles, and cutting red tape so that local government becomes a true partner and not an obstacle to small businesses. I will propose legislation for the expansion of the County’s popular “Mom & Pop” Small Business Grant Program by doubling the amount of grant money the county provides annually so that more struggling small businesses can benefit from this valuable program, as well as allowing new and qualified businesses, and startups to access this program. Incentivize our local colleges and universities to expand their curriculums to offer more vocational courses in trades in order to prepare the many young men and women, not inclined for a traditional education, to obtain the skills necessary for them to build fruitful careers and become part of our workforce at a much faster rate. I will work tirelessly with local, state and national economic development organizations and institutions in order to attract large and small businesses from around the country to relocate their operations and make Miami-Dade County their new home, and provide our residents with the quality, high-paying jobs they need and deserve.

Farming & Agriculture: I will be a steadfast supporter and defender of our Agriculture Industry and will work closely with my colleagues so that the funds that our County government sends to support this vital, local industry, is not reduced or threatened from any annual budgetary cuts. My office and I will make it a priority to inform and educate our fellow residents of the many benefits and importance that this industry brings to all of Miami-Dade County.

*info pulled from candidates website

 

COUNTY COMMISION 3

TISA MCGHEE

BIOGRAPHY

I am a proud wife, mother, and grandmother, a lifelong and tireless social service advocate, an educator, and a small business owner. I have devoted my life to making a positive impact in our community. Coupled with my academic and professional background as a social worker who believes in fighting for the rights of others, I am someone with integrity who is also a planner and coalition builder who knows how to work collaboratively with multiple stakeholders. I have lived in Miami for the last 16 years, and I am truly invested in District 3. I am an associate professor at Barry University in the School of Social Work where I teach courses in Leadership, Advocacy, and Public Policy, from 2010-present. I believe I bring a unique skill set that I can apply as an elected official to ensure that Miami-Dade County government addresses the economic, social, and collective and diverse needs and the disparities of not only the residents of District 3 but of all Miami-Dade County. The bottom line is I believe I can help!

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

While I understand that we are in the middle of a pandemic and health and human services are a high need overall there are significant challenges that Miami-Dade County must address to sustain us and bring about the improvements in our overall quality of life. I am prepared to address our interrelated issues of economic development, the housing crisis and transportation. District 3 residents are overburdened with the high cost of living. The costs of housing and transportation are growing while our residents are struggling living paycheck to paycheck. We can and must do better by increasing wages countywide so that our workforce may support their families with dignity and respect without having to worry whether they may keep a roof over their heads or put food on the table. I am ready to work with local, state, and national economic development agencies to attract more private and public sector investment in our communities I will support better wage initiatives higher quality and better-paying jobs and develop standards geared to benefit our local talent and workforce. To address our housing crisis I would expand affordable housing to ensure residents are able to afford living here and have a clear benchmark to what an amount of affordable housing and the income levels that are available. I would support expanding the capacity of land ownership models that preserve affordability such as community land trusts and shared equity. Finally, I would expand and Improve our systems of public transportation Increase our mobility and options alleviate our high transportation corridors for traffic and work on um making a bus and rail options more affordable or free.

KEON HARDEMON

BIOGRAPHY

Commissioner Keon Hardemon was born in Miami, Florida where his family stressed to him the core values that remain true to him today: the importance of education, integrity, and service to the community. His first home was in the James E. Scott Public Housing Development in the Liberty City area of Miami-Dade County. He was raised in Liberty City neighborhood and is the epitome of the idiom that “It takes a village to raise a child”. As a product of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools System, he graduated Charles R. Drew Elementary School, Charles R. Drew Middle School, and Miami Northwestern Senior High School.

After graduating from Miami Northwestern, Commissioner Hardemon enrolled at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). At FAMU, he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and served the FAMU student body in a myriad of appointed and elected positions. However, he was most notably known as the Student Government Association’s Senate President. Mr. Hardemon graduated from FAMU with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management and a Masters in Business Administration.

Upon graduating, he returned home to Miami-Dade County to work for Pfizer, a Fortune 500 firm, but later resigned to enroll in law school at the University Of Miami School Of Law (UM). Amongst other activities at UM, he was the Black Law Students Association Vice-President, the Parliamentarian for the Student Bar Association, a member of the Center for Ethics and Public Service, and was the first student to successfully argue a motion before a Circuit Court Judge that helped save the life of a man that was facing the death penalty.

Currently, the Commissioner is a member of the Florida Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Wilkie D. Ferguson Bar Association, FAMU Alumni Association, and the UM Alumni Association. He was most recently an Assistant Public Defender at the Law Offices of the Public Defender Carlos Martinez where he represented hundreds of clients from the Miami-Dade County Community.

*info pulled from miamidade.gov

MONESTER LEE KINSLER

BIOGRAPHY

I am a proud wife, mother, and grandmother, a lifelong and tireless social service advocate, an educator, and a small business owner. I have devoted my life to making a positive impact in our community. Coupled with my academic and professional background as a social worker who believes in fighting for the rights of others, I am someone with integrity who is also a planner and coalition builder who knows how to work collaboratively with multiple stakeholders. I have lived in Miami for the last 16 years, and I am truly invested in District 3. I am an associate professor at Barry University in the School of Social Work where I teach courses in Leadership, Advocacy, and Public Policy, from 2010-present. I believe I bring a unique skill set that I can apply as an elected official to ensure that Miami-Dade County government addresses the economic, social, and collective and diverse needs and the disparities of not only the residents of District 3 but of all Miami-Dade County. The bottom line is I believe I can help!

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

HIV Prevention, Educate and influence communities knowledge and attitudes with regard to HIV transmission.

Gentrification, Create and preserve affordable housing and assist tenants at risk of displacement through gentrification.

Assisting Youth, Ensure successful transition from adolescence to early adulthood through social, cognitive, psychological, and technological skills and support.

Senior Citizens​, Increase community readiness to accommodate the senior population through leadership, research, statistical analysis on transportation, affordable housing, and zoning.

*info pulled from candidates website

BRIAN DENNIS

BIOGRAPHY

Amendment 4 candidate.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

I will campaign economic development & communicty resiliency, create equal opportunity platforms for District 3 residents. develop policies that will use transportation options to strengthen District 3.

*info pulled from Facebook page

GEPSIE M. METELLUS

BIOGRAPHY

Gepsie Morisset-Metellus is co-founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Neighborhood Center Sant La, an award-winning neighborhood resource center that serves as a lifeline for the Haitian immigrant population of South Florida.  

 

Her community involvement spans over three decades.  She currently serves on the Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent’s Business Advisory Council and the Miami-Dade School Bond Oversight Committee.   She is an active member of the Miami Chapter of the International Women’s Forum and the Greater Miami Chapter of the Links Inc. She is also active in many other community organizations.  

 

In addition to hosting a weekly talk-show targeting the Haitian community South Florida, Gepsie is a frequent national media commentator about the issues that impact the Haitian community.  Ms. Metellus is multilingual and has a multicultural perspective shaped by her extensive travel to Europe, Asia, The Middle East and the Caribbean. She’s an alumna of the Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious fellowship, Next Generation Leaders, and of Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management.  Gepsie’s motto is “Provide the leadership to get things done! 

 

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Gepsie M. Metellus migrated to the United States at the age of twelve. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in French/Romance Languages from Queens College, New York; a Master of Science in Modern Language Education from Florida International University and a Post Masters Certificate in Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.  In 2004, she was conferred an honorary doctorate for community service by the Université Jean Price Mars in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

She and her husband Gerard Metellus reside in Miami and have no children.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Safe Communities: I believe in a bold vision that tackles poverty rates and addresses crime as a symptom of the lack of economic opportunity in our community. Too many of our neighbors are living paycheck to paycheck, working longer hours for lower wages. A safe community free from crime means creating policies that uplift and empower our community such as protecting workers rights, and expanding affordable housing.

 

Addressing Our Affordable Housing Crisis: Miami-Dade County is in an affordable housing crisis – we rank first when it comes to the percentage of renters paying more than 30% of their income on rent. We must ensure that those that work in Miami-Dade – our teachers, firefighters, wait staff, nurses, custodial workers, police officers, clerks – can afford to live here. I believe in a countywide approach to affordable housing by partnering with advocacy groups and developers to identify vacant public land and reshape zoning codes.

 

Traffic Congestion: Traffic congestion impacts the quality of life in Miami-Dade County. We need a comprehensive approach to transit that includes addressing gridlock on our highways and neighborhood streets, investing in public transit, including new rail and bus routes that connect our communities.

 

Sustainability: Here in Miami-Dade County, the growing threat of climate change and our aging infrastructure pose long-term threats to our community. We need to care for our planet, prioritize sustainable development policies that protect our environment, and make sustainable investments in our infrastructure. 

Livability:Clean water and healthcare are human rights. We need to invest in our healthcare infrastructure, prioritize access to healthy food, and protect our water supply. Especially as we emerge from this pandemic, parks and green space will remain an important part of our community’s infrastructure, and we need to invest more in these spaces to ensure they’re accessible to all residents. 

*info pulled from candidates website

EDDIE LEWIS

BIOGRAPHY

I have been a resident of District 3 for over 29 years. I served our country as a US Marine for 17 years and our county for 20 years in law enforcement. I am DEDICATED to my community and lend myself to various charitable organizations and community activities.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Provide affordable housing for seniors, implement reduced rental housing rates, fix public transit, social services for immigrants, preserve & protect the environment, support and increase teacher's pay, fight for the reduction of over crowed prisons, fight to reduce minimum mandatory prison sentences back to 65%, employment and job training for re-entry of ex-felons back into civilization.

*info pulled from candidates website

 

COUNTY COMMISION 1

SABRINA DENISE FULTON

BIOGRAPHY

A Miami Gardens native and lifelong resident, Sybrina Fulton is an active member of the community who has dedicated her adult life to public service, empowering women, and fighting for positive social change. A graduate of Florida Memorial University, Sybrina has worked in Miami-Dade government for over 20 years, experience that gives her a ground-level understanding of the role county government plays in people’s daily lives. Sybrina is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and the National Council of Negro Women. Following the death of her 17-year-old son, Trayvon Martin, Sybrina turned her heartbreak into action by advocating for families and concerned citizens across the country. Through her work with the Trayvon Martin Foundation, Sybrina has helped grieving mothers, mentored young people, and become a leading voice on the need to end senseless gun violence.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Sybrina will deploy a comprehensive approach to transportation, including: Supporting Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan implementation to improve rapid transit corridors throughout the county. Advancing regional transit options to connect those in Miami-Dade to economic opportunities in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Investing in micro mobility infrastructure, such as bike lanes, to ease the burden on our roads and encourage cost-effective, environmentally-friendly transportation options. Sybrina believes we must put people over profits and close the economic equity gap so that everyone can prosper by: Fostering an environment that equips local entrepreneurs and small businesses with the tools to succeed. Creating more opportunities for small and minority businesses to participate in county contract bidding process Promoting policies that will attract investment to our region and position Miami-Dade as an economic leader with good-paying jobs for all — not just those at the top of the economic food chain.Sybrina will: Fight for housing options that are more affordable, safer, and secure for all who call our County home. Pursue innovative programs and partnerships to help alleviate the housing burden felt by many area families. Protect the integrity of our neighborhoods from big developers and real estate special interests out to boost their bottom line.

*info pulled from candidates website

OLIVER GILBERT

BIOGRAPHY

Mayor Oliver Gilbert is a graduate of Florida A&M University and the University of Miami School of Law, where he graduated with honors. Shortly after law school graduation, he began his career in government and politics serving as the Legislative Aide for State Representative Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall. From the State Representative’s Office to serve as the Deputy of Policy for Florida State Gubernatorial Candidate Janet Reno, Oliver’s quick wit, smarts, and infectious smile caught the attention of all those who encountered him. Upon completion of the gubernatorial race, Oliver was appointed Assistant State Attorney in the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, before returning to serve in his beloved hometown after it was incorporated as the City of Miami Gardens in 2003. In 2008, Oliver was appointed to the Miami Gardens City Council. He served in this capacity until 2012 when he was elected as the second Mayor of Miami Gardens. He is currently serving his second term. Oliver is a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens. Oliver has one son Oliver Gilbert the IV.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

TRANSPORTATION: Oliver will work to improve our mobility by increasing access to public transit, adding additional bus routes, extending rail service to the Northern portion of the county as well as expand our thinking to include new and innovative forms of transportation that decrease our carbon footprint.

GROWTH: Designing Smart and Responsible GROWTH We live in an ecosystem that is connected. Infrastructure is connected to economic development. Economic development is connected to sustainable communities and neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are connected to parks, jobs, public safety and more.

Small businesses: Oliver established a small business assistance program, helping residents turn their talent and dream into opportunity and entrepreneurship. Oliver will continue to empower not only women and minority-owned businesses but all businesses, helping them thrive and succeed.

COMMUNITIES: Building neighborhood capacity is crucial for sustainable communities. Homeownership is key to keeping communities stable. Unfortunately, homeownership is becoming less attainable and more expensive. Whether it is young families who are just starting out or seniors who are deeply rooted in the community, Oliver is committed to establishing initiatives to help them improve and maintain their homes thereby creating sustainable and inclusive communities. Homeownership is just one piece of the capacity building puzzle. Plugging in economic development, educational opportunities and access to jobs are the other pieces to building better blocks. ENVIRONMENT: Protecting our parks, green spaces, and natural resources are vital to the survival of our community.

SAFETY: The safety of our residents is paramount. We are in this together. Communities are safer when we work together to understand that through strategic partnerships and collaboration, we can build the community we desire. From intentional program creation for youth to access to education and jobs for adults, communities are made safer by offering alternatives. Oliver walks this walk every day. Building parks, establishing new lighting districts, hiring officers from Miami Gardens, and visiting every public school in the city are just some of the ways he builds community. When residents have pride in where they live and in the people who serve them, their accountability to the overall community rises. Safety begins at home with small steps. Oliver realizes that there is much work to do but he has already taken both small and large steps with positive outcomes. He knows how to get this work done.

*info pulled from candidates website

 

STATE REPRESENTATIVE 108

GEORGES BOSSOUS JR.

BIOGRAPHY

Georges graduated from Barry University with a Master of Science degree in Psychology. He also completed a three-year post-graduate training in the field of Infant Mental Health at the former Institute for Child and Family Health. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Public Health with concentration in Epidemiology from Walden University. He hopes to utilize his degrees in the public health sector leading research in child abuse as it relates to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. In September 2009 he founded the humanitarian organization “Words and Actions, Inc.” and in October 2011, a Haiti based sister organization under the name, “Word and Actions for Haiti/Parole et Action Pour Haiti.” These organizations aim to reduce the occurrence of child sexual abuse in the U.S. and Haiti. During the 2016 elections, Georges took a three-month-leave of absence from his regular job and joined the Florida Democratic Party and later MoveOn.org as a field campaign organizer. He was able to hear the concerns of everyday people and developed a better understanding of the many challenging issues they face. In May 2016 Georges was named Vice-Chair of the Senate District 38 Health Task Force overseeing the foreign affairs committee. In September 2019 Georges launched his political career as a candidate for Florida State Representative, District 108. Standing by his slogan “Let’s Break the Cycle” and with the support of his constituents, he hopes to break the cycle of DIP, which stands for Division, Injustice and Poverty. “If allowed, this cycle will leave the community vulnerable, as a house divided cannot stand,” Georges stated. He believes that the strength found in unity will enable us all to effectively fight against all forms of social injustice, including a lack of health care, housing, environmental declines, lack of education, equal rights and equal pay, public safety, gun control, child sexual abuse and human trafficking.”

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Child Sexual Abuse and Human Trafficking: Utilizing his background Georges will use his knowledge to take on these issues to break the cycle and stop this horrible acts.

 

Improving the Affordability and Accessibility of Health Care: As a healthcare professional Georges can no longer tolerate this injustice, that’s why Georges supports improving affordability and accessibility of health care.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Georges pledges to support the DACA program to continue to give protected status to immigrants. Georges will also fight to protect the Temporary Protect Status provision, which protects people from deportation to countries afflicted by natural disasters, war and other dangerous conditions. Join Georges’ movement and help protect immigrants from unjust treatment and deportation.

 

Gun Control Reform: Georges plans on seeking sensible gun control reform to take on this issue that has already harmed so many lives.

 

Climate Change: Georges plans to take on climate change head on by building a movement that aims not only to break the cycle of climate change, but also to break the cycle of division, injustice and poverty.

 

Affordable Housing: Georges will support an Affordable Housing Task Force to identify issues that prevent accessibility, opportunities, and to help break the cycle of poverty.

 

Education: We must prioritize our teachers and ensure that our children’s educators are receiving a living wage. Georges will also ensure that all children have access to quality education no matter their economic background. Georges will make sure our children get the education they deserve, an investment in our children is an investment in the future.

 

Socio-Economic Development: Georges asks for all constituents to join him in breaking the cycle of poverty and ensuring all workers get a living wage.

 

Justice Reform: We need comprehensive and evidence-based reforms that would aim to modernize our criminal justice system and break the cycles of recidivism.

*info pulled from candidates website

ROY HARDEMON

BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in Miami, FL. I grew up in public housing, along with my parents and 14 brother and sisters. I am a proud alumnus of Miami Northwestern Senior High School. As a longtime community activist and a Miami-Dade County employee for over 25 years, public service is my passion and mission in life. Formerly a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 108. Hardemon assumed office on November 8, 2016. Hardemon left office on November 6, 2018.

DOTIE JOSEPH

BIOGRAPHY

Dotie Joseph was born into a life of public service and community activism as the daughter of Rev. Gonel Joseph and Marguerite Mompremier, a nurse. Dotie grew up in the District, attended Miami-Dade public schools, studied hard, and earned degrees from Yale University and Georgetown Law. Dotie became a fierce advocate after interning with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, and litigating employment discrimination cases all around the US. Wanting to use her advocacy skills to serve the community, Dotie returned home to make a difference.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

She is running in order to advocate for equal access to quality education, affordable health care, public safety, and economic development to improve the quality of lives for all who live, work, and play in the District. When elected, Dotie will fight for equal access to affordable housing, safe communities, quality education, affordable health care, and job creation. She wants to improve the quality of life for all who live, work, and play in the District.

*info pulled from candidates website

STATE REPRESENTATIVE 117

 

JESSICA LAGUERRE HYLTON

BIOGRAPHY

With over 13 years experience as an Educator, Entrepreneur and Community Leader, Jessica Laguerre Hylton is ready to serve as Florida House Representative for District 117. As a South Dade native, Jessica has always been an advocate for the people. Whether through grassroots support for those experiencing homelessness, or youth entrepreneurship initiatives for young girls, and fighting for housing supports for the elderly, Jessica has been a voice for the voiceless. Jessica is a wife and mother finishing her 2nd term as Democratic Precinct Councilwoman. She is an International National Disaster Relief Administrator. Has served as Call Center Director for joint relief task force for Haiti between City of Homestead, City of Florida City and Miami Dade County. She sits on the board of several organizations ranging from human and trafficking Survivor support or senior benevolence initiatives. Jessica is a Certified Grant Writing Specialist, WestLaw Certified Legal Researcher, She is trained in alternative dispute resolution and arbitration. Mrs. Hylton is very passionate about equity amongst all communities as has been advocating for transparency in public and affordable housing. Jessica is a women of great faith.Her and her husband serve as youth ministry at their church King Jesus Ministries.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Housing Protection Legislation with specific anti-gentrification language to prevent elderly and those at risk of losing their homes to lack of responsible development. Tackling cost flood insurance that cost more than some residents mortgages in South Dade Preemption that limits the district’s 3 CRA from truly creating a pathway to homeownership and home affordability, and it’s inability to provide much needed economic development support and support for small businesses as they would like here in South Dade

KEVIN CHAMBLISS

BIOGRAPHY

Kevin Chambliss is a lifelong Democrat and a candidate for Florida State Representative House District 117. He was born and raised in Mississippi, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Jackson State University, an HBCU. Kevin began his political career while in graduate school at Northern Illinois University. There he became VP of the NIU College Democrats, President of the Young Democrats of Dekalb County, and a member of the NIU NAACP Executive Board. Kevin first held elected office as Dekalb County Board Member from 2008 to 2010, and served on the Highway and the Law and Justice Committees. During his tenure, Kevin led the effort to create a Diversity Statement for the county and developed short and long-range action plans to address a wide variety of municipal needs. In 2010, he began his first professional political experience when he joined Congressman Joe Garcia’s 2010 congressional campaign as Field Organizer in Deep South Dade, and later as Congressman Garcia’s South Dade Director. After Congressman Garcia left office, Chambliss worked for Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, Congressman Carlos Curbelo, Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and Congresswoman Donna Shalala as their South Dade community liaison. Chambliss has served the community through the NAACP, South East Dade Ministerial Alliance, Miami-Dade County Democratic Executive Committee, and as President of the South Dade Democratic Black Caucus – Ron Brown Chapter. Kevin considers his most important roles to be those of husband and proud father of four children. He currently serves as Youth Pastor at Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, in Florida City, Florida.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

South Dade is ready for Economic Development that creates good jobs and sustainable businesses. I want to empower small businesses, agriculture and agrotourism industries to grow. I will fight to expand Medicaid and close the gap in healthcare access for our families. Education is a priority for our community and public education must be funded properly with good salaries for teachers so we have the best learning environment for our children.

HAROLD FORD

BIOGRAPHY

A resident of Goulds, Florida and product of Miami-Dade Public Schools (Pine Villa Elementary, Mays Junior High, and Miami Southridge Senior High), Harold graduated and pursued a higher education degree at the University of Florida. After graduating with a BS in Statistics, he returned to South Florida to work for Game Systems, Inc. His leadership ability was quickly identified and he excelled into the managerial ranks. During his tenure as a business manager, Game Systems experienced its most profitable period due to Harold's efforts in the reorganization of the business' operational structure and streamlining its processes.

After eight years of service, Harold decided to embark upon another challenge, more closely aligned to his true passion and gift, working with our youth. This resulted in a career change and his entrance into the field of education. In 1998, Harold applied for and accepted a position as a Mathematics Instructor at J. R. E. Lee Education Center and was recognized as Rookie Teacher of the Year and then two years later, Teacher of the Year. While employed at J. R. E. Lee, he served as a Lead Teacher, Mathematics Department Chairperson, Interdisciplinary Team Leader, Educational Excellence School Advisory Committee Member, Technology Committee Chairperson, Professional Growth Team Member, and School Improvement Plan Committee Member. In addition, Harold also served as an Alliance Plus Technology Mentor Trainer and an Enhancing Education Through Technology Trainer Mentor which afforded him the opportunity to train teachers in the proper means of integrating technology into the curriculum. 

Mr. Ford is currently a single father to his teenage daughter. In addition, he supports and cares for his mother, who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. These very personal experiences show that Mr. Ford is both caring, and attentive, and is relatable to others in the same situation. He understands hard times at home happen, and will seek to relate to his communities, implementing strategies that will facilitate necessary support for those who need it.

While continuing his education and in pursuit of an opportunity to impact a greater number of students, Harold sought to enter the ranks of administration. In March 2007, Harold accepted the position of Assistant Principal at Richmond Heights Middle School. In 2008, he worked diligently as a member of the administrative team which helped lead the school in receiving an "A" grade. Moreover, Harold developed strong relationships and ties with parents and community leaders within Richmond Heights. He has served at Mandarin Lakes K-8 Academy, Campbell Drive Middle School, Homestead Middle School, Brownsville Middle School, and Charles Drew K-8 Center. Harold currently provides math and reading instructional support to children living with disabilities.

A lover of education, after receiving a BS degree from the University of Florida, he earned an MBA, a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership, and a Master of Arts Degree in Religious Studies from Florida International University. He also holds a Masters Degree in Divinity and is presently working to complete a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership at Nova Southeastern University. 

He is a proud LIFE member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., LIFE member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association's Miami-Dade County Chapter, Board Member of the Goulds Optimist Club, and community leader. In addition, Harold holds certifications from the Florida Department of Education in Educational Leadership, Exceptional Student Education, Middle Grades Mathematics, and Computer Science (K-12), and Lean Six Sigma certification from Florida International University's Department of Engineering. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, he completed a course offered by John Hopkins University on Contact Tracing to better understand how to help his community during this crisis.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Criminal Justice Reform

Criminal Justice Reform must be orchestrated through the employment of a holstic approach that is comprehensive and focuses on the redevelopment of internal and external structures and processes. Considering the number of elements that operate within the Criminal Justice System, there are no simple solutions to addressing this matter effectively and it will involve the integration of innovative, intuitive, and institutional changes to create the paradigm needed to develop an equitable and sustainable model for the future of our country and society.

 

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing in Miami-Dade County is a much needed and sought after resource. What is currently available is insufficient to meet the demands of the people in want. The qualification policies and metrics that currently exist are antiquated, outdated, and should be revised as soon as possible to avoid a potential increase in the homeless population. Moreover, the lack of enforcement in ensuring renters are not living in squalor or sordid building conditions needs to be improved as well. In short, the current social model for Affordable Housing needs to be overhauled because it has kept people from becoming homeowners, rather than positioning them for home ownership. 

 

Education Reform

Our education system is in desperate need of repair. Teachers are underpaid and overworked, students are stressed due to over testing, instructional support personnel are underpaid and unappreciated, needed capital improvements, and the current legislature is focused on their personal agendas which inadequately and insufficiently funds public education. To reform Florida's education system, it will take a comprehensive initiative to provide adequate funding to compensate teachers and support staff, abolish the dysfunctional school grading practice, minimize standardized testing of students, and to update the student curriculum. Education reform is critical to the direction of the future of our country and our children. Reaching the full potential for students to receive a 21st Century education won't be realized if we don't change our trajectory soon. 

 

Small Businesses Development

Small Businesses are the life blood of our economy, but many don't receive the support or opportunities needed to succeed. Over 90% of Black, Latino, and Native American small businesses are denied loans from banks to start or operate their business. Now is the time to support the creation and building of minority businesses which will positively grow Florida's economy, provide employment opportunities, potentially infuse innovation into society through their niche positioning. However, due to COVID-19, many of them are struggling and have issues getting the needed resources to remain afloat and open. It is imperative as a leader of the community that we make sure ALL small businesses have access to the capital necessary to operate, build capacity, and expand as desired. In short, more short-term investment programming for small business development should be instituted which will provide long-term economic benefits for Florida's economy and the community in which these businesses are located. 

 

Infrastructure

The State of Florida is in desperate need for infrastructural improvements. South Miami-Dade County and District 117 should be first in line to receive funding for the implementation of it's infrastructural deficiencies. The first issue is addressing regarding the connection of the MetroRail from Dadeland South to the city and residents of Florida City. Due to sea-level rise, the second issue is connecting the residents who use well water to Miami-Dade County's public water system to avoid salt water intrusion. The third issue is addressing traffic, but this will best be done through the creation of more living wage jobs within South Miami-Dade County, provide incentives for businesses, if applicable, to create remote or virtual employment opportunities. The third will provide positive economic, infrastructure, and environmental impacts to our community, county, and state. The fourth issue to address is transportation. The transportation in the southern corridor of South Maimi-Dade County is essential for the people of District 117 because many of them rely on it to go to work, shop, and move around the community.

*info pulled from candidates website

 

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 7

MARIE FLORE LINDOR-LATORTUE

BIOGRAPHY

Born and raised in Port-au-Prince Haiti. Marie Flore Lindor-Latortue preferably Dr. Flore traveled to pursue her college study in Puerto Rico where she graduated with two majors: Elementary Education and Psychology. Dr. Flore also holds a master in Health Administration and her Doctorate in Higher Education and minor and Leadership. She is also a radio/tv personality. As a life-long educator she taught in kindergarten, 3rd grades and several universities. She is an adjunct faculty at Miami Dade College for over 19 years, she also worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital and retired in 2011. She said Education in her vocation not a job. She throws her hat in the rings to challenge the status quo. She said that as a radio host and educator, the community shares for years that school members should be servant leaders and not making their position a political arena not a career. She is proposing terms limits and plan to establish relationship with state reps to make that happen. She also cares for preschoolers and said she wants to include a system of PreK-12 instead of K-12 creating a major gaps when children need to enter kindergarten. Her platform is grounded on Inclusion. According to Dr. Flore inclusion means not a propaganda of teachers raise but the respect of the Teaching career where also substitute teachers are not left out in the discussion, the nurse educators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians. She said she takes ownership of the movement to Make Education First since March 2019. Only now everyone is repeating after her that they care for school staff. Dr. Flore is the Best Candidate she is not only academically prepared but professionally. She said that school board needs new ideas and hope not to win a seat but use this race to lead a lasting movement to really make education first. She is well versed in mental health and distance learning, areas of major needs for the school board with actual climate of public health pandemic COVID 19.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

She is proposing terms limits and plan to establish relationship with state reps to make that happen. She also cares for preschoolers and said she wants to include a system of PreK-12 instead of K-12 creating a major gaps when children need to enter kindergarten. Her platform is grounded on Inclusion. According to Dr. Flore inclusion means not a propaganda of teachers raise but the respect of the Teaching career where also substitute teachers are not left out in the discussion, the nurse educators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians. She said she takes ownership of the movement to Make Education First since March 2019. Only now everyone is repeating after her that they care for school staff. Dr. Flore is the Best Candidate she is not only academically prepared but professionally. She said that school board needs new ideas and hope not to win a seat but use this race to lead a lasting movement to really make education first. She is well versed in mental health and distance learning, areas of major needs for the school board with actual climate of public health pandemic COVID 19.

LUBBY NAVARRO

LORRAINE ORDENES REAL

BIOGRAPHY

  • Wife and mother to three children

  • Former teacher, assistant principal and PTA president for MDCPS

  • Small Business Owner in Kendall

  • Autism and Mental Health Advocate

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

  • Ensure a safe environment for staff and students due to Covid-19

  • Create a smooth transition from home quarantine to classroom

  • Enhance school security

  • Combat the teenage suicide rate

  • Assist the homeless students

  • Create more environmental awareness programs within the schools

  • Bring back vocational programs

  • Introduce an eight period school day

  • Keep a low emphasis on standardized testing

 

*info pulled from candidates website

BIOGRAPHY

HONORABLE LUBBY NAVARRO, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, DISTRICT 7, was appointed by Governor Rick Scott on February 13, 2015, to fill the vacant seat representing Miami-Dade County School Board, District 7 and subsequently re-elected on August 30, 2016 with 79% of the vote.

Born in Havana, Cuba, Lubby has been a resident of Miami for nearly 35 years. She has resided in District 7, Kendall area of Miami-Dade County for over 22 years. For over 25 years Lubby has been committed to serving our community through her commitment to public service.

Lubby serves as an active member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Homeland Security, Seventh Coast Guard District, Division 6, Flotilla 65 in South Dade, where she held the position of staff officer of Public Affairs.

On July 30, 2019, Lubby was presented with an Auxiliary Membership Service Award from the United States Coast Guard for her 5 years of valued service in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Lubby is a proud mother of a daughter who is also a product of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Florida International University.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

LUBBY’S CONTINUING PLEDGE TO OUR SCHOOLS

  • Include parents, teachers, students, and administrators in seeking better solutions.

  • Reform and improve learning for all students.

  • Champion proper compensation for teachers, by continuing to support efforts like Proposition #362, which increased teachers’ salaries and was passed by a resounding 70% of Miami-Dade voters.

  • Increase investment for school safety.

  • Ensure that student have access to mental health services.

  • Demand high standards of fiscal responsibility.

  • Maintain Miami-Dade School District’s A Rating.

  • Expand choice opportunities for students through our nationally recognized magnet programs and provide access through the Continuous Enrollment Choice Option.

  • Implement programs aimed at eliminating student use of E-Cigarettes and other tobacco products.

  • Continue to increase our school district’s graduation rate, which has risen to 89%.

  • Support educational efforts to review the District’s homework policy for K – 8 grades.

  • Continue to Modernize our schools through the implementation of the General Obligation Bond, by ensuring that all construction projects are under budget and delivered on time.

  • Expand and implement the District’s first Girl to Girl mentoring initiative.

  • Inform and engage the public about school bus stop safety.

*info pulled from candidates website

SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 9

 

DENNIS MOSS

BIOGRAPHY

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis C. Moss was first elected in 1993 and has served on the Board of County Commissioners for close to 28 years. Commissioner Moss was elected on November 20, 2008 as the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners 2009-2010 Chairman. Commissioner Moss is known, respected, and admired for making promises and keeping them. He was initially elected to the Board of County Commissioners shortly after Hurricane Andrew, the second worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. Commissioner Moss immediately focused his efforts on the recovery of South Miami-Dade. His tireless efforts resulted in a comprehensive plan to rebuild distressed and declining areas affected by Hurricane Andrew. Named in recognition of Commissioner Moss, the Moss Plan was approved on September 7, 1993 by the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner Moss's committment to South Dade has brought Jackson South Medical Center to South Dade, built South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center,assisted in bringing thousands of affordable housing units to the area, brought FedEx and now Amazon to Naranja, is building the Larcenia Bullard Plaza in Richmond Heights, has struck a deal to bring the Miami Wilds Water Theme Park to Zoo Miami, helped hundreds of small businesses through his Mom and Pop Small Business Program, and the list goes on. Commissioner Moss currently serves as Chairman of the Housing, Social Services and Economic Development Committee which is responsible for oversight of matters concerning affordable, workforce and public housing, education, community assistance, social services, economic development, job creation, neighborhood improvement and self-sufficiency initiatives. He was also appointed as Vice Chair of the Transportation and Finance Committee and a member of the Tourism and the Ports Committee, The Chairwoman’s Policy Council and the Community Disparities Subcommittee.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

  • 1. Ensure school safety

  • 2. Protect students & staff from COVID-19

  • 3. Create distance learning that works for all students

  • 4. Preserve schools in challenged neighborhoods

  • 5. Provide life skills: employment entrepreneur, coding and trade skills

ESTHER "SHELLY" FANO

BIOGRAPHY

I am the only candidate in this race that was born, grew up, and completed all levels of my education right here in Miami Dade County. I am the sole candidate with 30 years of experience teaching Pre-K through postsecondary education, teaching students with special needs, and as a college administrator. I am fluent in verbal, reading, and writing skills in Spanish. I have been a financial and mortgage broker and have owned my own construction and property management businesses. I have worked with local, state, national, government, corporate, and community leaders to impact the agenda for public education and public service initiatives. I am currently a college-wide administrator and faculty member at Miami Dade College. Concurrently, I am the Executive Director of the Hospitality Institute, a grant-funded program, established to connect low-income residents countywide to sustainable employment by providing hands-on work readiness, employability, and life skills training. Most recently, I have received certification in COVID-19 Contact Tracing. Working in collaboration with the Greater Miami and the Beaches Association and the Florida Restaurant Association and colleagues, we have developed training for hundreds of hotels in compliance, as set by mandates issued by Miami-Dade County, to safely reopen businesses.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

COVID-19 has and continues to cause a tidal wave of concern. I will proactively address programmatic solutions and allocation of resources to ensure that every child has the academic support and equal opportunity to catch up and close any achievement gaps. I will seek appropriate allocations for resources necessary to sustain protective measures for the wellbeing of ALL students, teachers, administrators, staff, and personnel, taking every precaution to ensure they are thriving while they are learning and working in a healthy, safe, and secure environment. I will seek funding for salaries, expanded professional development, and ways to recruit additional highly qualified teachers. I will advocate and seek resources for the expansion of programs for students with special needs. I would like to narrow the gap between the classroom and parental involvement for a better understanding of each learner's growth. I believe we need to update programs and curriculum with hard and soft skills to ensure we serve the workforce needs and those of our community. Building on this knowledge we will help prepare students to contribute to democracy, by learning to be collaborative in diverse communities, and address shared challenges. We must provide innovative pathways for student success in the 21st century including expanded Career Technical Education.

JUSTIN A. KOREN

BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Justin Koren has served our public school district for 15 years, as both a teacher and school administrator.  A proud graduate of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and a Miami Herald Silver Knight Award Winner, Dr. Koren is passionate about education and works tirelessly in support of children from all walks of life.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

SCHOOL SAFETY & SECURITY: Parents should not have to wonder if their children will return home safely from school. I will advocate for increased emergency preparedness and enhanced training for school administrators, teachers, and staff to ensure our schools are safe and secure.

CYBERBULLYING: We can and must do more to address the growing epidemic of cyberbullying. I will work to implement more community-wide prevention programs in every school.

 

MENTAL HEALTH: I will support increasing school-based mental health services, additional counselors, training, and community resources that will directly benefit troubled students.

 

SUPPORTING OUR TEACHERS: Teachers are leaving their profession at an alarming rate. I will support permanent, higher salaries for all teachers, and will propose more comprehensive training programs for new educators.

 

CHAMPIONING THE ARTS & VOCATIONAL PROGRAMS: Funding arts education and vocational programs, which are critical for student development. I will steadfastly support arts education funding and new initiatives throughout our school district.

 

ECO-FRIENDLY SCHOOLS: I will work to transform our schools into “Zero Energy Buildings,” requiring the retrofitting and construction of future schools and administrative buildings using alternative energy methods and resources.

 

*info pulled from candidates website

NANCY LAWTHER

BIOGRAPHY

Parent, career educator, PTA leader, child advocate—I am defined by what education means to me, and what I think it has the potential to mean for all of us.

Raised in a college town in the heart of Appalachia, I am the daughter and granddaughter of educators. I am the wife of an immigrant who arrived in this country with a student visa and not much else, and who turned the blessing of his American education into an opportunity to share his knowledge of mathematics and computer science with thousands of students. And, I am proud to say, I am the mother of a son whose public school education here in Miami-Dade County gave him the tools he needed to excel in college and medical school, and who now works with stroke victims and wounded veterans to return them to active life. I, too, used my excellent public school training as a springboard to more advanced education, and, eventually, to the decision to become a professor. After earning my doctorate in French from Yale, I taught at two different public universities and then, after moving to Miami in 1990, at Barry University and the University of Miami’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Prioritizing Student Success: Eliminate the digital divide, Reduce learning gaps by expanding access to quality preschool programs and identifying learning barriers and unique talents as early as possible, Incorporate life skills and in-the-field experiences into lesson plans, Promote career and technical education for all students

Look beyond Florida to pilot innovative learning models and practices with demonstrated effectiveness, Offer a rich and varied curriculum that builds strong character, enhances personal development, and prepares students to thrive in an ever-changing world

 

Implementing Common-sense School Safety Protocols: Ensure our schools are safe havens for children by providing a nurturing environment where all are respected, Establish equitable and effective school disciplinary measures that disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline and take community input into account, Increase school counselor allocations to move toward nationally-recommended ratios, Reform the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act to better reflect the needs of each school, Forge strong partnerships between schools and community stakeholders to address issues of traffic safety and neighborhood violence, Monitor data-sharing practices

 

Safeguarding Community Health—COVID-19 and Beyond: Implement rigorous health-monitoring, contact tracing, and sanitation protocols in all school facilities, Provide students and employees with the mental health support they require, Support children’s nutritional and sleep needs, Align health education with CDC recommendations, Advocate for widespread coronavirus vaccine administration, once available, and promote equal accessibility for all

 

Creating Quality Neighborhood Schools: Encourage recruitment and retention of top-quality teachers and non-instructional personnel by paying them the salary they deserve, Intertwine the needs of the community into the educational goals of the school, Pursue joint use agreements that open school grounds for community enrichment and recreational purposes, Use technology to increase parental and community engagement in classroom activities and school and district policy discussions, Engage the community in highlighting the achievements and accomplishments of local students and neighborhood schools

*info pulled from candidates website

LUISA SANTOS

BIOGRAPHY

My story is a testament to the ability our district has to combat the socioeconomic inequities that are so deeply embedded in our nation. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, and when I was 8 years old I immigrated to this country. I entered our public school system, attending Perrine Elementary, surrounded by new people and a new language. However, I became determined to succeed in my academic pursuits, learning English through an ESOL program and becoming involved in as many activities as possible. However, when I attempted to volunteer with the school system, I learned that I was undocumented, a realization that further motivated me to become involved civically. I went on to begin my higher education at Miami Dade College before completing my degree in Political Economy and Education, Inquiry, and Justice at Georgetown University. While in D.C., I worked under the Obama Administration’s Department of Education and as a 4th grade assistant teacher and tutor in two vastly differently-resourced communities. My story, of overcoming hardship and immigration status, should be the story of every student in Miami-Dade; however, as we transition into an increasingly technologicized and stratified nation these opportunities have become difficult to obtain.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

As an elected official, I will work to protect the safety and mental health of our students, support our educators and staff, and ensure equity, fairness, and transparency countywide. When discussing student safety, it is my belief that this extends beyond the notion of having more police in school and encompasses the emotional wellbeing of our students. Our students deserve to attend a school where they feel safe from the threat of gun violence, where they feel safe from the threats of cyberbullying in an increasingly technologized world, and where they feel safe within their own emotions and feelings. A key portion of my platform is expanding social-emotional learning, with a truly solid implementation from the district, so that students can grapple with the stresses and emotional issues that can come from academic and home issues. We should also support our staff in the same manner in which we support our students, ensuring that they receive the proper resources necessary to execute their jobs to the best of their ability. Our teachers are tasked with the hardest job in the world, creating a path for our students, and we should support them as such. They ought to be paid more, and as a Board Member, I will also advocate for proper development and retention of educators at both the local and state levels. I also hope to empower educators and students alike with culturally relevant teaching that will tie our curriculum to the lived experiences of our students. I believe the issues of equity, fairness, and transparency in our district is critically important to creating a just school system that can provide students with opportunities. I am dedicated to ensuring the proper allocation of resources, protecting our most vulnerable youth from forces of discrimination and inequality, and utilizing data to ensure that the voice of the community as a whole is heard in the school policymaking process. We need to solve the achievement gaps within our district, dismantle the school to prison pipeline, and address the lack of career and college options available to our students upon graduation. I have proposed multiple policies to address this, both short-term and systemic, such as a retired volunteer corps, lowering the student to counselor ratio, investing in early education and restorative justice, and expanding support for our Career Technical Education and College Assistance Programs. Furthermore, we must revitalize the community-school relationship, and I dedicate myself to facilitating that as a School Board member through visiting schools regularly, holding quarterly town halls in rotating locations, having complete transparency with our educators, disaggregating data, and improving our websites to work well and provide places for feedback. As a Board Member, and through data-driven and targeted policies, I hope to promote a school district dedicated to equity, which protects and supports our students and teachers at every level.

 

 

MELBA V. PEARSON

STATE ATTORNEY - CIRCUIT 11

BIOGRAPHY

Melba Pearson is an attorney and criminal justice reform advocate running to be the next State Attorney for Miami-Dade County. Melba is committed to reforms that end racial disparities within the criminal justice system and safely reduce Miami-Dade’s jail population. Melba would ensure the State Attorney’s Office put new resources and more attention towards bringing justice to domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Melba would fight against the criminalization of poverty by ending cash bond requirements for most non-violent offenders.

Melba is a first-generation American who was born in New Rochelle, New York and raised by her Jamaican father and Trinidadian mother. She has lived in Miami-Dade for 22 years, serving our community through public service and advocacy most of her adult life.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree from New York University, Melba graduated from the Hofstra School of Law. She wanted to ensure that everyone – no matter their race, gender, age, religion, sexuality, disability, wealth, or geography – received equal justice under the law.

Melba moved to Miami in 1997 to work under State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. Melba served as an Assistant State Attorney for over 15 years, where she worked as a line attorney in the misdemeanor Domestic Violence Division, a community prosecutor, and a prosecutor in the Felony Domestic Crimes Unit. Melba ended her tenure as assistant chief of the Career Criminal/Robbery Unit, where she supervised junior attorneys and prosecuted homicide cases. Melba gained intimate knowledge about how the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s works – and sometimes doesn’t work.

In 2017, Melba left the State Attorney’s office to join the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida as Deputy Director. She worked to change police practices, expand voting rights, and reform the criminal justice system. Melba was among the senior leadership team that passed the historic Voting Restoration Amendment, so Floridians with past felonies could vote. Whether working with legislators in Tallahassee or police chiefs in Miami-Dade, Melba’s work at the ACLU of Florida always focused on ending mass incarceration in Florida.

Melba is the immediate past president of the National Black Prosecutors Association and the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association in South Florida. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Prosecution Function Committee of the American Bar Association.

During the nearly three decades of Katherine Fernandez Rundle’s time as State Attorney, Miami-Dade has suffered a grossly unequal application of justice. From 2010 to 2015, Black Miamians were 230% more likely to be jailed before being found guilty of any crime and over 250% more likely to be convicted of a crime when compared to white Miamians. Another example is the extreme disparities among the kids that State Attorney Rundle chooses to charge as adults. State Attorney Rundle sent 134 juveniles accused of non-violent crimes to adult court between 2014 and 2019, and 129 or 96% were girls and boys of color. Melba will fight to end racial disparities that have disproportionately hurt Miami-Dade’s Black and brown communities.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Restorative Justice: Work to repair the harm caused to victims of crime and prioritize rehabilitation over punishment.

 

Juvenile Justice: End the school-to-prison pipeline and keep kids out of the adult criminal justice system.

 

Real Accountability: Hold corrupt law enforcement and public officials responsible for misconduct.

 

New Priorities: Prioritize and aggressively prosecute domestic violence, sexual violence, and gun violence cases.

 

Equal Justice: Root out discrimination and racial bias that exists at every level of Miami-Dade's criminal justice system.

*info pulled from candidates website

KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE

BIOGRAPHY

Katherine Fernandez Rundle is Miami-Dade County’s and Florida’s first Cuban-American State Attorney, having been re-elected six times since 1993. She was unopposed during the 2016 election and has commenced her seventh term as the County’s top law enforcement officer. She received her degree from the University of Cambridge Law School, England.Prior to her appointment in 1993 she served as an Assistant State Attorney for 15 years. In her role as Chief Assistant, she acted as legal counsel to the Miami-Dade County Grand Jury and created the State's first domestic violence unit.Fernandez Rundle helped write and pass the Florida Punishment Code, and was involved in the formation of Dade County's Drug Court, Truancy Intervention Program, and Juvenile Assessment Center.

IF ELECTED, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE ACCOMPLISHED?

Sealing and Expungement, Juvenile Gun Offenders Program, Human Trafficking Task Force, Anti-Gun Violence Unit, Voting Rights Restoration

 

*info pulled from various websites

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