MIAMI (WSVN) - One of the races to be decided at the end of August is the one for Miami-Dade mayor, and the top two candidates have names that are well-known in the community.
Raquel Regalado, the daughter of City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, is attempting to unseat Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez.
The political heavyweights are vying for Miami-Dade residents’ votes, and it’s no surprise. The incumbent and his challenger don’t see eye-to-eye on how the former has fared at the helm, in County Hall. “There’s no doubt that Miami-Dade County is much better off today than it was five years ago,” said Giménez.
Regalado begs to differ. “Carlos Giménez truly does believe that we are going in the right direction, and that’s the problem with Carlos Giménez,” she said.
Giménez is running for a third time, but if reelected, it would be his second full term. The former Miami city manager and county commissioner was voted in, in a 2011 special election, after then-Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez was recalled.
“I completed my promise that I was going to reduce taxes. It was the biggest tax cut in Miami-Dade County history,” said Giménez. “We saved about $1.3 billion to the taxpayers.”
The tax cut, Regalado said, doesn’t necessarily make Giménez the better choice. “At the end of the day, a rise in property value does not equate to a rise in quality of life,” she said.
Miami-Dade County has more than 26,000 employees and a $7 billion budget. Regalado said she’s up to to the task of running it, thanks to her two terms as a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board.
“I’ve been an advocate in Tallahassee and in Washington, and I’ve brought federal and state funding,” she said. “This summer, we’re giving our teachers a raise.”
Regalado has hammered Giménez on a number of fronts, from the Frost Science Museum’s money troubles to controversy surrounding the mayor’s planned redevelopment of the Liberty Square housing project.
Meanwhile, Giménez has touted the legalization of popular ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, as well as the implementation of body cameras, as successes during his administration. “Well, I’m the guy that put body cameras on police officers, all right?” he said. “She was against body cameras, and it’s because I don’t think she understands why we need those things.”
Regalado also pointed out a string of shootings involving minors as another sign that the county needs new leadership. “When our children are dying on the street, he needed to deal with gang violence and more police officers to close those cases,” she said, “and once we stop killing kids, then we can move to body cameras.”
Both candidates agree that something has to be done about traffic. Giménez signaled it’s time to get six new mass transit corridors off the ground.
Regalado, however, said the mayor has failed to act to help ease the congestion.
It’s clear the disagreements between the two run deep. “She’s young and ambitious, but when you look behind the curtain, I’m not sure there’s too much there,” said Giménez.
“I think his problem is that Carlos Giménez has known me for 30 years, and he can’t wrap his head around the fact that I grew up, but I did,” said Regalado.
Speaking of youth, 36-year-old Alfred Santamaria is running for mayor as the anti-establishment, political newcomer. “People are tired of the old-guard politics. People are tired of the status-quo politics,” he said. “People are tired of the bureaucratic, dinosaur politics. They both represent that.”
There are four more candidates who qualified for the mayoral ballot:
- Frederick Bryant
- B.J Chiszar
- Miguel Eizmendiz
- Farid Khavari
If none of the seven candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a run-off election between the top two finishers in November.
If you would like learn more about the people running for mayor, here are the links to their websites:
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