The majority of Miami city commissioners are looking for some new leadership. Incumbent mayor Tomas Regalado and City Commissioner Francis Suarez are the frontrunners in November's election, and three of the four other city commissioners are supporting Suarez.
"I think it symbolizes what they have seen in me, as someone who works hard every day for the interests of a cross-section of our community," Suarez said.
Next week Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff and city commissioners Willy Gort and Michelle Spence-Jones are expected to host a fundraiser for Suarez. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez is also scheduled to attend.
Suarez’s slick campaign website and related videos mirror his image and message: a young, fresh approach to Miami's future.
Regalado said he's not offended by his colleagues' choice for mayor. He believes a difference of philosophy regarding property taxes is why the majority is supporting his challenger.
"My commitment has always been since I came here not to raise taxes," Regalado said. "There were commissioners who wanted to raise taxes several times and I have had clashes with them."
Regalado, mayor since 2009, takes credit for keeping the city financially afloat during some very difficult budgetary times. Other highlights of his administration include saving the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts and improving the city’s recycling program.
He is banking on his no frills, back to basics reputation to win him another term.
"I am not in support of grandiose plans, I am not in support of raising salaries to appease the unions," said Regalado, who is confident the election will go in his favor.
So is Suarez.
"It's not about the last 10 years in Miami, it's about the next 10 years in the city of Miami and I think it's time to turn the page," he said.
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