Accomplished Community Leader

  • Offering over 20 years of experience in public service in municipal and county governments
  • Supporting public/private partnerships for a more efficient government
  • Strong advocate for children, senior citizens, and our military
  • Supporting projects that offer maximum job opportunities for our community

Civic/ Community Leadership Roles

Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, 2002-present

Appointed positions

  • Serve as Chairman of the Land Use & Development Committee
  • Serve as Chairman of the Military Affairs Board
  • Serve as Chairman of the International Trade Consortium
  • Serve as member of the Health & Social Services Committee
  • Serve as member of the Economic Development & Port Miami Committee
  • Serve as member of the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade (IGPAC)
  • Serve on the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force
  • Serve on the Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County’s Executive Committee
  • Served as Chairman of the Airport and Tourism Committee
  • Served as Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Sports Commission
  • Served as Chairman of the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium
  • Served as member of the Health and Public Safety Committee
  • Served as member of the Budget and Finance Committee
  • Served as member of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority
  • Served as Board member of the Florida Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)

Policy and Legislation

  • Business Preference for Disabled Veterans
  • Supported Paid Military Leave
  • Allocated funding for the Fisher House: Comfort Home for Veterans
  • Supported Wounded Warrior Outreach
  • Urged tax Relief for Military Service Men on Duty
  • Maintained and expanded the use of the Homestead Air Force Base
  • Maintained Southern Command post in Doral, FL, and secured funding from the federal government to create new headquarters for Southern Command.
  • Maintained and improved Military Hospitality Lounge in Miami International Airport
  • Created a Resolution to fly the POW flag at all county installations.
  • Created the Seniors Never Alone Program in Miami-Dade County
  • Advocated for the Senior Homestead Exemption
  • Supported funding for “Meals on Wheels”
  • Supported legislation to establish living quarters for seniors with very low income
  • Provided funding for expanding and remodeling senior centers
  • Created Child Safety Zones
  • Established residency restrictions for sex offenders and predators
  • Created the Ashley Valdez Text Alert System
  • Created resolution establishing Autism Awareness Month
  • Consistently supported reducing the tax burden for our residents by maintaining a low millage rate
  • Opposed increases in Water and Sewer fees
  • Increased efficiency in maintaining direct services
  • Supported International Trade Promotion Agreements
  • Created legislation to enable public-private partnership proposals
  • Supported economic stimulus programs
  • Developed a Visiting Ships Program
  • Solicited and Secured Aviation Route at MIA with Cathay Pacific
  • Promoted and established International Trade Agreements between South and Central Americas and the County.
  • Supported a Cooperate Agreement of Understanding for the County with the Tianjin’s Municipal’s Government
  • Advanced the Florida Free Trade Area of the Americas
  • Brought Major Sports and Entertainment Events to Miami-Dade County (including the Super Bowl and hosted first WrestleMania in Miami-Dade County in 2012 (generated $102.7 million in economic impact) for Miami-Dade County
  • Lobbied Florida Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to change Nation’s flood insurance rate maps to benefit residents of the City of Sweetwater
  • Created “14 days of Neighborly Love –Inspiring Random Acts of Kindness to residents in District 12
  • Created legislation for minimum imprisonment terms to protect law enforcement from assault by felons
  • Created legislation to train personnel at Miami International Airport to spot human trafficking victims (Miami International Airport was first airport to launch new training program). Also produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to bring awareness to this growing issue
  • Created legislation to designate Miami-Dade Animal Services as a No Kill Shelter
  • Created ordinance promoting responsible pet ownership
  • Created “Ambassador Cabs” program to promote quality service for taxis serving airport and seaport
  • Created ordinance requiring barriers at shopping centers to prevent vehicles from crashing into storefronts
  • First Veteran’s court in Miami-Dade County
  • Advocated strongly for Dolphin Station Park and Ride Transit Terminal Facility located at 11897 NW 12th Street to accommodate new Bus Rapid Transit to offer residents an alternative to travel from West-Miami to Downtown area (ready in the fall)
  • Created legislation condemning Venezuelan election and sanctions against the Venezuelan government
  • Created legislation calling for the immediate extradition to the United States of all fugitives from U.S. justice who are receiving safe harbor in Cuba
  • Created legislation for free elections in Cuba
  • Created legislation asking the Trump administration to grant Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans living in the United States.
  • Created legislation urging Congress to support Preventing Crimes Against Veterans Act of 2017 to help prevent crimes of fraud against veterans
  • Created legislation condemning the Nicaraguan government for using violence and intimidation to suppress political opposition and urging the Federal government and Organization of American States to take appropriate Diplomatic action
  • Created legislation for the growth of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers in Miami-Dade County for young people especially girls and young women
  • Amended the County’s wage theft ordinance to allow victims to recover attorney fees when going after deadbeat employers
  • Created ordinance to toughen penalties on employers engaging in wage theft and increase the fine for repeat offenders by up to 60 percent for fourth offense and bars companies that engage in wage theft from doing business with the County
  • Created legislation for Doral to be first city to get reversible lanes
  • Created legislation asking Congress to enact the “Dream Act” or similar legislation to prevent the deportation of individuals who were granted “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status
  • Created legislation urging the U.S. Defense Department to continue the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program, which recruits legal immigrants with medical and language skills into the military and provides expedited naturalization in exchange for enlistment.
  • Created legislation urging the federal government to crackdown on any efforts to raise or launder money for Hezbollah and investigate any companies operating in Miami-Dade County with possible links to financing of terrorist organizations
  • Created Task Force to address the illegal dumping of trash in Miami-Dade County
  • Created legislation to toughen penalties for looters during local emergencies like Hurricanes
  • Created legislation to provide property owners in unincorporated Miami-Dade County with the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program
  • Created legislation requiring rental companies to provide customers notice of administrative fees and surcharges associated with toll charges or toll violations while using the rental car
  • Created legislation for County to use road impact fees for mass transit improvements
  • Created legislation to explore converting certain two-way roadways into one-way streets to alleviate traffic congestion
  • Created legislation to expand the Patriot Passport program to veterans receiving disability benefits

Road Improvements

  • NW 74th Street Bridge over the Miami River Canal from South River Drive to Okeechobee Road
  • NW 74TH Street (east-west corridor) to travel from Florida’s Turnpike through Doral, Hialeah, Miami and Miami Beach
  • Extension of NW 74TH Street from NW 84th to NW 107th Avenue
  • NW 137 Avenue Extension from 836
  • Extension of 137th Ave from NW 12th Street to NW 25th Street
  • 836 / 826 Improvements
  • Widening of 127th Ave from SW 8th Street to NW 12th Street
  • Widening of NW 12th Street from 127th Ave to 137th Ave
  • 92nd Ave Bridge and roundabout
  • Traffic Signals (numerous busy intersections)
  • Traffic Calming Devices (Traffic Circles, Stop Signs etc.)
  • Numerous Repaving, Resurfacing and Stripping Projects

 

Drainage Projects

  • Un Incorporated Dade County
  • Doral
  • Sweetwater
  • Town of Medley

 

 

Parks

  • North Trail Park
  • Tamiami Trail Park (Dog Friendly)
  • Tamiami Linear Park
  • Trail Glades Sport Shooting Range
  • Linear Park & Trail (SW 2 Street between 136 Court and 136 Place

Libraries

  • Doral Branch Library
  • International Mall Branch
  • Hialeah Gardens Branch

 

City of Sweetwater, 1986-2001

  • Mayor
  • Councilman
  • Chairman, City of Sweetwater Police Retirement Trust Fund Board
  • As Mayor of the City of Sweetwater, worked to resolve the ongoing flooding issues in the city as well as throughout Miami-Dade County. Spent countless hours lobbying in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. and received $740 million in funding for the flooding issues

Military

  • Served in the United States Marine Corps, Honorable discharge

Memberships/Appointed positions

  • Miami-Dade County's Military Liaison
  • Member of the Military Affairs Committee
  • Honorary Member of the Cuban American Veterans Association
  • Member of the U.S. Marine Corps
  • Member of the American Legion (post 9346)
  • Vice-chair of the Governmental Operations and Environment Committee
  • Board Member of the Everglades Restoration and Eco-System Task Force
  • Co -chair of the Board of Directors of the Miami-Dade County Sports Commission
  • Chairman of the Tourist Development Council
  • Intergovernmental Representative for Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR): as an Advisor to United States Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, and the President of the United States.
  • Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Sports Commission
  • Military Liaison for Miami-Dade County

Awards

 

  • Autism Speaks Elected Official of the Year, 2010
  • Miami-Dade Commissioner of the Year Award by the Minority Chamber of Commerce, 2010
  • South Florida After School All-Stars Award (advocator for children in Miami-Dade), 2011
  • Outstanding Civilian Service Award by U.S. Southern Command, 2012
  • Lifetime Contribution to Military Service Award by Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, 2013