By Mateo Gomez
Nov. 3 was a big day for the Miami-Dade community. For the first time in county history, there will be a female mayor – Daniella Levine Cava, who is replacing Carlos Gimenez. He has been the mayor for the past 8 years but has recently termed out.
Cava won with 54% of the vote, or 576,921 votes. She went against Esteban Bovo, where he lost with 46% of the votes, or 492,032 votes.
This is a shift from what we saw during the primaries back in August where Bovo took first place with almost 29% of the vote, and Cava had 28%.
Both were commissioners for Miami-Dade County running a non-partisan race. Even though this is how it looks on paper, it is well known by voters and local politicians that Cava leans toward liberal (Democrat) and Bovo leans toward conservative (Republican).
Cava was first introduced to the Dade County political environment back in 2014 when she won her seat for District 8. 4 years later, she got re-elected.
Bovo, on the other hand, has been commissioner for District 13 since 2011. Before that, he was a state representative from 2008 to 2011.
Levine ran on the importance of social services for the county. Many people argue that this is a radical act, but she argued that it is a necessity and that there is nothing radical about the concept. She stated that it is important for counties to look after the citizens that live in them, especially the senior community.
On Nov. 4, she participated at a food drive in Wynwood and in Miami Beach, already starting to fulfill her promise to give back to the community.
Speaking to the press, she said, “This county does believe in compassionate leadership and we can be a community that takes care of all of its residents.” Her plan is to work as a community with as many local mayors as possible on things like transportation, climate change, and safety.
On Nov. 17, Cava was sworn in as the first female mayor of Miami-Dade County. In her speech, she mentioned one of her first priorities – COVID-19, stating that she is ready to “confront this crisis.”
Many people tend to focus on federal elections, but local elections are actually more important to our daily lives. Dr. Tisa McGee, social work professor at Barry University, believes in the importance of local politics, which is why she ran for the Miami-Dade County commission seat of District 3.
“At a local level, and from my own experience, there is more at stake in economics, racial and social justice, different movements…” she said. “I decided to run so I can be the voice for the black woman.”
Overall, she believes that both elections, local and presidential, are chaotic due to the information overload and the polarization, which causes people to be overwhelmed.
Her desire to run and be a voice for her community overshadowed her lack of public recognition and political experience. Unfortunately, though, she lost in the August primaries. Despite this, she was satisfied with the results, glad that she had had the chance to run at all.
The main message of her campaign was this: “Don’t ever give up. Your voice is important. Just because we didn’t win, we [can’t] believe our vote didn’t matter, [because] it’s not true. We must keep advocating.”
When we look at both Cava and McGee, it’s clear that politics is changing. Old white males are no longer making all the rules and decisions; there is room for more than one type of voice at the table. This shift is evidenced by the election of Kamala Harris as the first female Vice-President in the history of the United States, which hopefully marks the beginning of a long period of progressive changes.