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Miami-Dade Home Rule Charter is the governing document (constitution) since 1957. County charter was amended to have a strong-mayor form of government. The mayor is charged with administering county government, appointing and firing department heads, proposing the budget. Mayor has a 4-year term; term limits – 2 consecutive terms. Non-partisan county-wide election.

All candidates were asked the following questions:

  • Why are you running for this office and what qualities, training, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
  • What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?

This run-off election between the top two candidates is taking place since no candidate achieved 50% of the vote during the Primary Election on August 30.

Carlos A. Gimenez                   

I am running for re-election of Miami-Dade County to continue moving our community forward. I have forty years of public service experience and a clearly defined governing philosophy based on transparency, efficiency and fiscal responsibility. I want to represent all Miami-Dade County residents with integrity and honesty. As Miami-Dade's highest-ranking elected official and chief administrator, I am responsible for the leadership and management of an organization (Miami-Dade County) with over 26,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $7 billion. I also oversee Miami International Airport and PortMiami, which directly or indirectly support half a million jobs in the community. In addition, I oversee the Water and Sewer Department, which has 2.3 million customers, and the Miami-Dade Police Department and Fire Rescue Department. The Police Department is the seventh largest law enforcement agency in the country and the Fire Rescue Department is the sixth largest of its kind in the United States.
Experience is listed below:           

  • Firefighter for the Miami Fire-Rescue Department for 25 years and served as Department Chief for the last 9 years. Served as the first Hispanic Chief and was named Department Chief at the age of 37;
  • Manager of the City of Miami from 2000 to 2003. Took the City's bond rating from "junk" to investment grade and left the City with more than $140 million in reserves;
  • Served as County Commissioner for seven years: first elected in 2004 and re- elected for a second term in 2008
    • Chairman of the Government Operations Committee and Chairman of the Regional Transportation Committee, overseeing Miami-Dade County’s transportation systems and championed the PortMiami tunnel project
  • Member of the International City Managers Association 
  • Member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs;
  • Member of the National Fire Protection Association;
  • Member of the Florida Fire Chiefs and the Fire Officers Association of Miami-Dade;
  • Served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Advisory Committee; and
  • Chair of FEMA’s Legal Issues Subcommittee.

What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?
(1) Public Safety: Number one priority, from firefighter to Mayor.

  • Body Worn Cameras: Championed this technology before it became popular to do so by implementing a system of 1,000 body cameras for police officers. Secured a $1 million in federal grant to launch the body camera program in Miami-Dade, which now is the largest police department in the Southeast United States using them.          
  • Hiring Corrections/Police Officers: 125 new police officers were hired in 2015; 40 new police officers will be hired by the end of fiscal year 2016-2017.
  • Police Vehicles: Replace the county's police-vehicle fleet and modernized its real-time crime center.          
  • Community on Patrol Application: The Community on Patrol Application, will provide residents with the ability to anonymously report tips to the Miami-Dade Police Department Command Center, upload videos, photos and notes, as well as identify and provide the residential location of sexual offenders, file police reports
  • and commend officers -- all from your smart phone.         
  • Implemented a new program where the Miami-Dade Police Department paired officers directly with at-risk youth that were identified by our juvenile services department as being repeat or occasional offenders, to mentor and help them.

(2) Transportation:
The future of transportation in Miami-Dade County will require us to leverage new technologies while maximizing our investments in traditional infrastructure projects.

  • Led the charge to legalize the use of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft in Miami-Dade.        
  • Championing the SMART plan for transit, which calls for six corridors (rail lines) to travel across Miami-Dade.
  • Working to enhance our county bus fleet, as well as making it more efficient by eliminating certain stops, so trips are faster.
  •  Have supported the All Aboard Florida/Tri-Rail Expansion project that will connect Miami-Dade County passengers with Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando.
  • Have also supported the Bay Link project, providing a public transit connection from Downtown to Miami Beach.
  • Advocated and supported the construction of the Port Tunnel, which has improved access to and from the Port. It is now alleviating traffic by removing approximately 14,000 vehicles from Downtown roadways every day.

(3) Economic Growth/Job Creation:

  • Established the Employ Miami-Dade program, which focuses on training, providing our residents the necessary skills to enter the workforce, as well as connecting residents from neighborhoods with high unemployment rates with potential employers, and ensuring they are considered first for local jobs.
  • Continue to work with the One Community One Goal initiative aimed at generating new higher-paying jobs in targeted industries, like technology, for Miami-Dade.
  • While the Liberty City Rising project is part of our affordable housing initiatives, it will also provide job opportunities for the community and residents of the area. The revitalization is expected to create approximately 2,290 jobs.
  • I have also championed economic development projects, like the American Dream Miami, which will be the Country's largest mall and entertainment center with the potential to attract millions of visitors from around the world to the county each year, and create thousands of jobs.
  • But the future of our county’s economic dynamism needs to be tied to other sectors as well, including technology. This is the reason why I have been a strong advocate of eMerge Americas and Venture Hive, an entrepreneurial incubator.                            

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez
4061 S. LeJeune Road, Miami, FL 33146
(Work) 305-375-5071
(Home) 305-928-2020


Raquel Regalado

I am running for Mayor of Miami-Dade County in order to provide leadership to an organization with over 26,000 employees and an annual budget of over $7 Billion.  As the second largest employer, county government should be a greater force of good in our community. The waste in human capital under the current administration is intolerable.
As the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, I will set goals for innovative public sector workers to achieve. I will delegate management responsibility to carefully selected department administrators chosen through an open and competitive process. My years as an elected official with the Miami-Dade Public Schools have forged my convictions regarding merit selection. In my administration, academic performance, professional experience and subject matter expertise will matter. I am prepared to entrust competent, first-rate directors to manage their operations.  If the service expectations of the public are being met, and my trust is not breached, progress will be made. I am confident that the public sector workers will deliver, if given the respect and latitude they deserve.
My many years of hosting public affairs radio and television programs has given me an insight into the problems of this community that is truly unique. As a member in good standing with the Florida Bar, I also hold myself as an officer of the court and am committed to upholding the cherished values and principles of our American society. My ability to listen, distill the essence of problems, and craft policy solutions will be a tremendous asset as the leader of county government.      
What do you see as the most important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if elected?
The most important issue facing the Office of the Mayor is the need for structural reform of procurement to cleanse the office of the stench of corruption. I intend to modify the Code of the County to delegate the authority to recommend contract awards to the appointed Department Directors. I want to eliminate the national perception that Miami-Dade County is a "pay to play" contracting arena that requires substantial campaign contributions and the engagement of multiple lobbyists. To counter the perception, I will introduce policy that will reward firms for civic engagement, as evidenced by charitable giving to reputable community based organizations and service on the boards of non-governmental agencies.  If lobbyists want to meet with me, I will schedule meetings in the lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center. It will be a new day for procurement under my administration.
As we restore trust and confidence to the operations of government with talented department directors and the diminished role of lobbyists and campaign contributions, we will begin to address the major problems confronting Miami-Dade County: traffic congestion, gun violence, small business development, and climate change adaptation. 
Traffic congestion solutions will involve engaging officials from Broward and Monroe Counties in order to expand the reach of proposed lines across county borders. A regional approach for the major lines will make our applications for federal funding more attractive. By increasing ridership numbers from beyond our borders, we will reach levels that our region will be able to compete with other metropolitan areas. On the mass transit front, I will also dedicate substantial resources in the maintenance of our buses. More mechanics are needed to ensure a more reliable fleet and better on-time performance. I will not settle for 70% on-time performance.
A concept I find interesting is the notion of vehicle-optional-zones, providing for all of the needs of the average person within a radius that is walkable or accessible via trolleys, bus and rail. The areas of greatest density will be required to meet certain mobility criteria in order to be officially designated a vehicle-optional-zone. I intend to work with our municipalities and civic leaders to make this happen. 
Gun violence is an acute problem within specific neighborhoods of our community.  More resources need to be pooled by county government, the school system, municipalities and the Children's Trust to ensure a "community bank" for local community based programs to experiment with innovative strategies to reach the most difficult cases of at-risk youth. We need to make a long-term commitment to break the cycle of gun violence that is defining the current generation of youth In our urban community.  Only if we have dedicated resources and a longitudinal approach will we succeed. I am committed to securing the resources for a sustained effort.
I have announced my intentions to disband the Beacon Council and focus attention on growing existing small businesses as a more appropriate investment of Local Business Tax proceeds. Working through organizations like the FIU Small Business Development Center I believe we can create more stable workplaces and provide for greater economic security of our workforce.
The time for addressing the concerns of climate change and sea level rise is yesterday. I will work with engineering experts to design a concrete plan to improve drainage operations in our most vulnerable areas. The South Florida Water Management District needs to be our partner in this effort. If direction from the Florida Legislature is needed to ensure the SFWMD addresses its unfunded capital program, then I will take up that issue in Tallahassee. We need to demonstrate to the insurance and mortgage industry that we are taking these matters seriously. Our goal should be to have effective, adaptive measures in place to address all the expected challenges on a thirty-year horizon, the current life of an average home mortgage.