At a time when the entire world is watching the Miami-Dade County Commission 2020 race, a new candidate called dibs to lead the board.
Commissioner Jean Monestime is the first Haitian-American member of the board, and now he plans to be the county’s first Black mayor.
“I don’t believe there is a better time to do this than the 2020 election,” said Monestime, adding that he has taken “precious time” to make the decision and plans to make an official announcement in the near future.
Monestime will have to submit his resignation from his current position on the commission in at least 10 days before the first day of the qualifying period, June 2, 2020.
Monestime was re-elected for his third term as District 2 commissioner in the August 2018 primary election. He was first elected to the board in 2010 when he toppled incumbent Dorrin Rolle. Rolle tried to win the seat back in 2018, but Monestime defeated him with 64 percent of the votes. He served as county chair in 2015-17, during which he created the Chairman’s Council for Prosperity Initiatives.
District 2 consists of portions of Miami, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, Hialeah and unincorporated areas of Liberty City, Biscayne Gardens and North Dade Central.
As mayor, Monestime would become the county’s top-elected official who oversees about 28,000 employees and serves 2.7 million residents.
Miami-Dade County has a strong-mayor government, which means the mayor has the power to veto as well as appoint all administrative positions.
So far, County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and former County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata have filed official documents for the position.
County Commissioner Xavier Suarez told The Miami Times Thursday that he was the first to support Monestime for the commission chairmanship. Though he hasn’t filed, Suarez openly speaks of being the next county mayor.
“There is no scenario that will keep me out,” Suarez said, adding that he will probably start electioneering in fall. He is also watching fundraising.
Others reportedly running are County Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, former County Mayor Alex Penelas and former lieutenant governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Monestime is the lone Black candidate.
“At this time I looked at the field of candidates, and I do realize I can bring a different set of experience, a different set of values – as an entrepreneur, as a businessman and an educator, and also as an immigrant,” said Monestime.
Monestime “believes in improving the lives in Miami-Dade County,” and as mayor, he will do just that, he said.
“A mayor who will get his workers pulling in the same direction, working to increase the prosperity of all people in Miami-Dade County can definitely have a huge impact,” said Monestime.