(WSVN) – Transportation, housing and economic development topped the list for candidates when they entered the Miami-Dade mayoral race, but in a county that is the hardest hit in the state by the coronavirus, platforms are now turning to recovery.
There is a new face among six candidates who are vying for the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s seat.
The candidates include commissioners like Esteban Bovo, Daniella Levine Cava and Xavier Suarez.
All candidates have made their pitch for the top job in Miami-Dade.
“We have transportation, we have housing challenges, water quality and environmental challenges that we need to be able to address in a transparent and direct way,” said Republican Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo.
“I have 40 years of experience running organizations that has given me the experience to move forward with efficiency, results and compassion,” said Democratic Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.
“I’m the person who tries to get things done and gets things done,” said Independent Miami-Dade County Commissioner and Former City of Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez. “In a simple, encapsulated way, the person who took the City of Miami from being ‘paradise lost’ per Time Magazine to being the city of the future in eight years.”
Conversations and debates are now taking on a different form in the era of coronavirus.
Suarez, the father of Miami’s current mayor, Francis Suarez, said rebounding from the pandemic means tightening the belt.
“One of the first things we need to do is simplify the county budget,” he said. “It makes no sense to have 80 different revenue catalogs in the county.”
Another candidate who is coming to the table already with experience is former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Pinelas.
When asked why he was running, he mentioned his dedication to service.
“For me, it is all about service,” he said, “giving back to a community that has been very good to me and my family.”
Penelas was also questioned during a recent forum about the county’s rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.
“We should have a process by which we are looking holistically at the health and economic recovery aspects of the pandemic,” he said.
Bovo delivered his pitch on COVID-19 and property taxes.
“We are going to have to reconcile and balance our budget,” he said. “I will remind everyone we are not the federal government. We cannot spend freely.”
Candidates covered a variety of issues while campaigning. For Cava, LGBTQ rights are personal.
“I am very proud of my daughter, her wife and my two grandchildren — one of whom was born in Florida and adopted here, yay,” she said, “because in 2010 that became legal here in Florida.”
There are also new names emerging in the race who are not affiliated with the political scene, including law firm employee Monique Nicole Barley and Ludmilla Domond.
“I am passionate about social justice and bringing real reformation to Miami-Dade County by increasing gun safety in our communities, making transportation one of my priorities, making affordable housing affordable,” said Domond.
“My platform focuses on transportation, affordable housing and economic development,” said Barley.
Current Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has reached his term limit and cannot run again for this seat.
Election day is Aug. 18, and early voting is currently underway.
A candidate must win the majority of the votes. Otherwise, the two top finishers will face off in November.
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