The Miami Times Recommendations

FEDERAL

For the U.S. House of Representatives

District 24

Frederica Wilson

Former teacher, principal, school board member, Florida state legislator and senator, we support Congresswoman Frederica Wilson in her bid for reelection to District 24 of the U.S. House of Representatives, where she has served since 2011. Her uncommon grit, valor and experience are needed in Washington in these extraordinary times.

STATE

For State Representative 

District 102

Felicia Robinson

District 107

Christopher Benjamin

District 108

Dotie Joseph

LOCAL

For Miami-Dade State Attorney

Melba Pearson

Melba Pearson is seeking to unseat Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who has served as state attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit for 27 years. A former prosecutor herself, Pearson left the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office after nearly 16 years as its assistant chief of the career criminal division to serve as the Florida ACLU deputy director, where she focused on ending mass incarceration. She worked to change police practices, expand voting rights, and reform the criminal justice system.

Pearson was part of the senior leadership team that passed the historic Voting Restoration Amendment, so Floridians with past felonies could vote. She has mounted a fierce campaign against her former boss, Fernandez Rundle, accusing her of being out of touch with national criminal justice reforms and supportive of a system that unfairly targets Black defendants. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pearson pushed Fernandez Rundle to reform the county’s system for jailing individuals who cannot afford bail. Fernandez Rundle eventually agreed to release detainees being held for misdemeanor charges and nonviolent felonies.

During Black Lives Matter protests after the death of George Floyd, Pearson counseled demonstrators on how to remain safe while practicing their first amendment rights and helped to connect arrested protesters to legal representation. In contrast, Rundle has never prosecuted a police officer for an on-duty killing during her nearly three-decade tenure. She has defended her record, arguing Florida’s laws set a high barrier for prosecuting police and that the appetite for reform didn’t exist until now. While that may be true, it speaks to her inability or unwillingness to blaze a trail for justice for victims of police brutality.

While Fernandez Rundle is considered a pioneer for numerous accomplishments, including Florida’s first domestic violence unit, misdemeanor domestic violence court and Human Trafficking Initiative, we believe it’s time to turn the office over to a new innovator in the form of Pearson.

For Mayor of Miami-Dade County

Alex Penelas and Daniella Levine-Cava

The race for Miami-Dade County is a crowded field with no single candidate likely to receive the necessary 51% of the vote to ward off a runoff. So instead of making a Solomon’s choice, The Miami Times is endorsing both Alex Penelas and Daniella Levine-Cava in the hope of whittling down the race to these two top candidates. We will update our endorsement when the anticipated runoff is announced.

Both Miami-Dade County Commissioner Levine-Cava and former Mayor Penelas claim dedicated plans for the Black community. Both are democrats in this nonpartisan race. Both support civilian oversight of the police and offer concrete steps to increase equity, inclusion and economic opportunity.

Penelas stands out for his previous eight years of experience as mayor, and also for his commitment to address the impacts of gentrification on the Black community and to establish a commission on the status of Black men and boys. He is endorsed by County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, former U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and 22 prominent Black pastors.

Levine-Cava has spent much of her life in the nonprofit arena as an advocate for those with the least among us. She understands marginalized communities. Her leadership as the founder of Catalyst Miami drove her to believe in needed neighborhood investments to give every resident a path to prosperity. Likewise, she has an ambitious plan to make more Black residents first-time home buyers.

For the future of Miami-Dade County, let’s make sure both of these exemplary candidates face off in a runoff election after Aug. 18.

For Mayor of Miami Gardens

Rodney Harris

For Miami-Dade County Commission

District 1

Oliver Gilbert

After distinguishing himself as the effective two-term mayor of Miami Gardens, we believe Oliver Gilbert has the necessary experience to represent constituents in District 1, replacing four-term Commissioner Barbara Jordan. We applaud Sybrina Fulton’s advocacy in the years following the death of her son Trayvon Martin and hope to see her pursue her interests in public service.

District 3

Keon Hardemon

Liberty City native son, FAMU graduate, attorney and Miami City Commissioner Keon Hardemon is our choice for District 3, replacing Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson. We have deep admiration for his closest rival in this race, Haitian activist Gepsie Metellus, and hope to be able to endorse her in a future election.

District 5

Eileen Higgins

For the district that includes parts of the City of Miami and Miami Beach, Allapattah and Little Havana, we believe incumbent Eileen Higgins is by far the best candidate to serve the people. In the two years since Higgins was elected county commissioner in a special election, she has thrown herself into public policy and problem-solving in unprecedented ways.

District 7

Cindy Lerner

An accomplished former Florida state legislator and mayor of Pinecrest, Cindy Lerner is impressively qualified to represent District 7 constituents, which includes Coconut Grove. Lerner has a long list of endorsements, including Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and North Miami Mayor Alix Desulme.

District 9

Kionne McGhee

Commissioner Dennis Moss has endorsed FL State Rep. Kionne McGhee to succeed him on the Miami-Dade County Commission, and so do we. McGhee grew up in the district, rising from public housing to law school, and he now serves as the minority leader of the Florida House of Representatives. We encourage his worthiest opponent, attorney Marlon Hill, to continue seeking elective office.

For Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser

Marisol Zenteno

Marisol Zenteno has spent 20 years valuing commercial and residential property and five years at the property appraiser’s office. She’s also a former president of the League of Women Voters and was chair of the Miami-Dade Commission on Human Rights. We believe she is the right candidate to make the office of property appraiser more accessible to the people.

For Miami-Dade School Board District 9

Nancy Lawther

We believe educator and public school activist Nancy Lawther is the most qualified candidate to replace outgoing South Miami-Dade School Board member Lawrence Feldman. Lawther is a former professor at Barry University and the University of Miami’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She served as president of the Miami-Dade County Council PTA/PTSA in 2018-2019.

For Circuit Court Judge

Group 55

Olanike “Nike” Adebayo

Attorney Olanike “Nike” Adebayo began her career as a prosecutor in the misdemeanor and felony domestic violence units at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office before becoming chief of litigation of the Juvenile Division. She Earned other experiences as a police legal advisor, civil litigator, defense attorney and back at the State Attorney’s office in the Community Outreach Division. This is Adebayo’s second run for circuit court judge where she is aptly qualified to serve.

Group 57

Roderick Vereen

Attorney Roderick Vereen ran for Congress in 2010 and for Miami-Dade state attorney in 2012. He has been an assistant state attorney in Tallahassee and the first African American federal public defender in the state, in addition to serving an adjunct professor in criminal law at Florida State University and FAMU. Vereen is highly qualified to sit on the bench, and the more qualified candidate in this race.

Group 65

Thomas Rebull

Group 67

Marcia Giordano Hansen

Group 75

Rosy Aponte

Load comments