With the upcoming general election on August 18, Miami Gardens residents will elect a new Mayor and three new city council Members, which include Seat 1, Seat 3, and the At-Large Seat 5. Miami Gardens is the largest predominantly African American city in Florida with a population of over 110,000 and the third-largest city in Miami-Dade County, and this election will mark a new age of leadership for this popular city.
Here at Hy-Lo News, we want to provide you with some facts and a voters guide about who will be on your ballet vying for the Miami Gardens vote. Although most media attention is given to the Presidential election, we want you to know local elections are crucial for you to participate. Black Votes Matter on all levels. These Miami Gardens elected officials will make decisions that will affect you and the people around you daily.
The Role and Responsibilities of the Mayor and City Council
The City of Miami Gardens has a Mayor-Council-Manager form of government. Under this form of government, the elected City Council sets policies for the operation of the City. The City Council enacts Ordinances, the laws of the City, adopts Resolutions authorizing actions on behalf of the City, reviews plans for development, and establishes the policies by which the City is governed.
The Miami Gardens Mayor is the presiding officer at the Council meetings and a voting member of the City Council. The Mayor executes all ordinances and resolutions, issues proclamations on behalf of the city, and serves as the designated official to represent the city. The Mayor appoints the City Manager, City Attorney, and City Clerk, subject to the majority of the City Council’s approval.
Miami Gardens City Council consists of seven members: a Mayor and two Council Members elected citywide and four additional Council Members elected by individual districts. The administrative responsibility of the City rests with the City Manager, who is appointed by the City Council (upon recommendation of the Mayor). Each Council Member is elected to a four-year term.
Miami Gardens Mayoral Candidates
Lisa C. Davis
Lisa C. Davis is a former member of the Miami Gardens City Council. She was raised and has lived in Miami Gardens for the past 42 years. Davis said she recognizes that there is much more work to be done in the city, is consistently on the ground, and engages with citizens to innovate for solutions that lead to progress. Davis said she is qualified to be Mayor because she lives in this city and loves it. She explained that she sat on the Miami Gardens dais for 8 and 1/2 years, and was not one to sit in her office. She said she was out in the community engaging with people all the time and was driven by her love for the people in the community.
Lavern Deer said she is dedicated to providing a new direction for our youth, reducing crime, and community development while expanding opportunities for all. Deer’s agenda focuses on youth development, social reform, crime reduction, safety, economic development, access to quality healthcare, infrastructural beautification and cultural integration. She said being elected Mayor will give her the platform to generate success in Youth Development, Crime Reduction, and Community Development.
For more than 25 years, Rodney Harris said he has poured into the lives of children throughout Miami Gardens. Professionally and as a public servant, he said he’s ensured that our youth have opportunities, second chances, and life experiences that change their lives forever. During his tenure as a council member and Vice Mayor for the City of Miami Gardens, Harris established the Robotics Competition to give students an outlet to learn and grow through S.T.E.A.M. As Miami Gardens continues to grow and develop, Harris said he is needed to shepherd ongoing projects while being the lead steward of the city’s finances. He said he will continue to be one to support meaningful initiatives that promote the healthy growth of Miami Gardens.
Sharon Pritchett is a current Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 102nd District, which stretches from Miami Gardens to Pembroke Pines in northern Miami-Dade County and southern Broward County. She has held this seat since 2012. Pritchett was born in Miami and attended St. Thomas University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 1978 and then her master’s degree in Administration of Justice in 1980. After graduation, Pritchett worked as a public investigator for the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office. She served on the Committee to Incorporate the City of Miami Gardens in 2002, and shortly after, the city was successfully incorporated. She was elected to the Miami Gardens City Council, where she served from 2003 to 2011.
Learn more about Sharon Pritchett via her Website
Miami Gardens City Council Residential Seat 1
Elvis Caines is currently the President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Association of Florida, and a volunteer Branch Mentor for the past 18 years with Big Brothers Big Sister of greater Miami-Dade County. Caines is also the Chairperson of Miami Gardens Elderly Affairs Advisory Committee and the Youth coordinator at the United Family Baptist Church. He said he can help the City of Miami Gardens in reforming the law enforcement Justice System by building positive relationships through community policing and trust with our young men and women. Caines also plans to improve and enhance the lives of seniors, affordable housing, establish and build relationships with new and prospective businesses, healthcare affordable programs, employment, educational and community involvement through sports, cultural and diverse opportunities.
Learn more about Elvis Caines via his Facebook
Shannon Campbell said she’s a fighter as evidenced by her successfully raising a son as a single mom after the passing of his father. She is still taking time to volunteer and support initiatives, activities, and organizations that positively promote the building of Miami Gardens. Shannon Campbell is an educator with a Master’s in Leadership. She said she is innovative and dynamic within the city and beyond. Campbell is a business consultant, entrepreneur, and credits her former athletic background for giving her the drive to succeed. You’ll find Shannon at events, rallies and city council meetings monitoring in order to share with her constituents what they should know in regards to the governing of this city.
Myles Houston said as a City Council member he wants to reduce low-income housing in Miami Gardens to assist in reducing the crime rate. He said doing this will restore the city to the “old Miami Gardens”. He would like to make Miami Gardens the heartbeat of Miami, Florida. He said he’s running for City Council as a servant to give the people what they want and to bring up Miami Gardens. Houston said together we will reduce crime in Miami Gardens, make the city senior citizen-friendly, and also become a technology leader in Florida.”
*Nathaniel Miller did not provide Hy-Lo News with a bio or comment for this story. However, we were able to find his website and Facebook page.*
Robert Stephens is a South Florida Faith Leader, Change Agent and Educator. He said he is committed to the mantra “Empowerment through Exposure,” and said as your City Councilman he will work with our school board representatives to ensure that youth in the community are receiving a quality education in a friendly safe environment, partner with local colleges and universities to expose residents to vocational training, and ensure that the city is aware of scholarships to assist with post-secondary educational goals. Stephens said with gun violence remaining a massive matter in the community, he will work with law enforcement, non-profit organizations, and other community leaders to stop the senseless violence. He said the time is now for Miami Gardens to rise and take the community back from the hands of criminals.
Miami Gardens City Council Residential Seat 3
Shannon Ighordaro is an individual with over twenty-five years of professional and executive business experience in the South Florida community. She said she’s been a lifelong champion for mentorship, inclusion, and gender equality. She is the Founder of the 100 Women of Virtue, Inc, and she serves as Executive Director for the Reignbow Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to provide on the job training, apprenticeship and mentorship opportunities for young people and Miami Gardens residents seeking entrepreneurship opportunities. Ighordaro said as a lifelong resident of the city of Miami Gardens, it is a place she is proud to call home and a thriving community. She said we must ensure that we safeguard the welfare and vitality of her beloved city, and that we must continue to fight to make sure we maintain a city where people can live, work, and play.
Thera Johnson- Jones
Thera Johnson- Jones said she has provided public service to the community for the past 20 years. She is currently employed in a public service capacity with Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation department as a Recreation Therapist. Her daily service to the community entails advocating for people with varying disabilities, including Autism, physical disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. Johnson-Jones said her work duties also include administrative oversight of budgets, programming, and human resource management for the north recreation area of Miami-Dade County. She said her knowledge, skills, and abilities she’s developed over the past 20 years will guide her candidacy and allow her to meet Seat 3 residents’ needs. Her top priorities for the residents of Seat 3 include increasing economic opportunities for families and implementing plans for a sustainable financial future and engaging youth to develop their skills in entrepreneurship and career options that will build them lasting success.
Patricia “Pat” Wright is running for Council Seat 3 in the City of Miami Gardens. She said she is running for office to be an activist for the issues, an advocate for the voiceless and the change agent for the greater good of the people of the community. She said she plans on bringing to the office integrity, transparency and accountability.
Miami Gardens City Council Residential Seat 5
*Anthony Butler did not provide Hy-Lo News with a bio or comment for this story. However, we were able to find his Instagram page.*
Learn more about Anthony Butler via his Instagram
Raymond Carvil SR. holds two Bachelors of Arts Degrees from Southern Theological Seminary school/ Logos University in Biblical studies and Union Institute & University in Criminal Justice. He also minored in Human Behavior. Carvil graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.56 G.P.A. in 2003 from those schools. Currently, Carvil is the Pastor and Community Outreach leader at The Living Word since August 2003. As a leader of this church, his role includes where he manages relationships with communities from Liberty City, Opa-Locka and Miami Gardens; creates service initiatives like Annual Food Drive feeding over 1,600 families; and develops curriculum for family enrichment through community engagement. Carvil said he’s a leader with more than 30 years of service and experience in all aspects of ministry and service leadership, from operations to development. He said he’s driven by impact and also to excel at community team-building processes.
Linda Julien is a Miami Gardens resident and homeowner who values building community through solid relationships, economic development, sustainability, and affordability. She has served as a loyal public servant for the last seven years throughout Miami Dade County municipalities, focusing on economic development, procurement, and workforce development. Currently, she serves as an Economic Development Manager supporting local businesses in their efforts to succeed. One of Linda’s most notable projects is Sole Mia, a 4 Billion dollar, 15-year mixed-use development, public/private partnership between a local municipality and the development team of Soffer and LeFrak. With her public work throughout South Florida, Linda was appointed to the City of Miami Gardens Charter Review Commission. She said she is a champion of the city and looks forward to a continued career in public service to ensure residents that residents’ needs and policies are aligned.
Arbie J Nickerson Jr
Arbie J Nickerson Jr, born on January 22nd, 1998, was brought up in a Christian musical family in Miami Gardens. Arbie has always focused on perfection so that he can encourage and empower others. At the age of 10, he joined his local faith-based community program at the JPM Enrichment Center. Arbie’s love for music grew as he was a part of the Drum Corp at the JPM Enrichment Center. Later, Arbie along with close friends became an Associate Producer for Jaguar Studios. At age 16, he started Godly People Music and its subsidiary Godly People Radio. After two years, Arbie began to focus on inspirational music and wanted to prove that secular artists could make hits without morally compromising themselves. Now Arbie sits as the Director of Beyond Our Abilities (B.O.A), a division of the Socialization, Education, and Employment (S.E.E) Foundation. Arbie also serves with Miami-Dade Public Library Systems as a Library Media Project Instructor, teaching teens multimedia production.
Francis Ragoo said he is running for Miami Gardens City Council Seat 5 because he sincerely believes he can make a difference in the improvement of the quality of life for residents. He said in 2020 we would be at the crossroads within the city with five of the seven seats at city council being new, including that of our Mayor. He said this election is critical. Ragoo said he’s dedicated himself as a public servant in the community and he hopes with his continued body of work he’ll be given the opportunity to greater serve as councilperson.
Phyllis W. Simpkins
Phyllis W. Simpkins has worked as a public servant in the city of Miami Gardens for more than 15 years and has lived in the city for more than 10. Simpkins said she is running for Miami Gardens city council Seat 5 because she has the vision to unite the interests of local government and community stakeholders for the advancement of the city. She said Miami Gardens is a multicultural city with people from all walks of life, and she is running to represent the interest of all of the people in this beautiful city. Simpkins believes this city is a beacon of hope, and a Garden filled with so much potential. She is a retired firefighter, serves on numerous boards for Miami-Dade County. Simpkins also co-founded a non-profit organization to empower inner-city youth and she is also a business owner.
Learn more about Phyllis W. Simpkins via her Website
André L. Williams is a real estate attorney and has practiced law in South Florida since 1993. He has represented real estate developers and investors in actual transactions, including multifamily and bulk sales of condominiums. André was selected as one of the “10 Best Attorneys” in Florida for Client Satisfaction in Real Estate Law by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. He is also the President and CEO of Pendragon Title and Escrow Inc. Williams is also the President of the Miami Gardens Chamber of Commerce and serves as the Co-Chair on the Diversity and Equity Inclusion Council for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. He was elected Councilman in the City of Miami Gardens, FL, in 2006 and served until 2012. Williams received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and American Literature from Harvard University and his law degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law. He is a Graduate of Ransom Everglades Upper School.
Remember to cast your vote for these Miami Gardens candidates on August 18, 2020. You can also vote by mail to avoid the crowds during this pandemic. Be sure to check your voter’s registration card to see where your voting location will be and it’s hours. And know it doesn’t matter who you vote for, just know that your vote matters — Black Votes Matter!
Click here to read our full voters guide and the elections we’ll be covering this 2020 season. If there is an election we should be paying attention to, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was written by Tyler Frater. Frater is a current MBA Candidate at Saint Leo University concentrating in Sports Business. Ms. Frater has been settled in the sports industry for the past five years, with most recently completing her first bowl season in Orlando, FL, as Team Operations Assistant. In her leisure time, she focuses on family, church activities, and her mom’s college blog called Blossom with Tyler. To connect, you can follow Tyler Frater on Instagram.
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