Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On November 8th, you’ll vote on much more than your next president. You’ll be voting for the next mayor of Miami-Dade County.
Current Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez greeted supporters at a North Miami-Dade rally, but he was quick to point out politics is not really his thing.
“Deep down inside, I’m a shy guy. Most politicians are extroverts, but I’m not an extrovert,” said Gimenez.
Gimenez calls himself a doer, a mayor who’s rolled up his sleeves to balance a county budget, cut property taxes, introduce police body cameras and pave the way for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in Miami-Dade County.
“Every promise I’ve made, I’ve kept and the new promise is to move forward and diversify our economy so our children have more opportunities than we have,” said Gimenez.
Miami-Dade School Board Member Raquel Regalado sees a much bleaker future under Gimenez.
“The choice is clear. If you agree with the direction, the county is going with the incumbent, vote for him but if you think it’s time to go in a different direction, I’m your candidate,” said Regalado.
Regalado says the mayor’s economic vision is stuck in the past and good paying jobs are staying away.
“Our kids are leaving Miami-Dade for Jacksonville, Atlanta, Houston and other cities where they have opportunities they don’t have here. As the mother of an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old, I don’t want my kids to have to leave,” said Regalado.
Regalado wants to restructure the Beacon Council which is aimed at attracting economic development.
Traffic congestion is a major priority for both candidates. Under Gimenez, the county is investing $40 million on smart traffic signals. On the other hand, Regalado says that as a school board member she reorganized the bus system to make it more cost efficient and promises to do the same with Miami-Dade transit.
Regalado is also trying to relate to voters as a single mother.
“I’ve had to make difficult choices. I have been one of the people to decide what to do with a house. I’ve been in a place where I couldn’t give my children everything they’ve wanted,” said Regalado.
A father and grandfather, Gimenez is a former firefighter, fire chief, city manager and county commissioner.
“I love serving. The people of Miami-Dade are my boss and I have a duty to them,” said Gimenez.
A six-year veteran of the school board, Regalado is a lawyer by profession. Her father is the mayor of the city of Miami.
“I’m very proud of my father and the work he’s done in the city. I don’t agree with him on everything and I wish people would give me an opportunity to talk about my track record,” said Regalado.
Both are staying mostly out of presidential politics. Gimenez says he’s voting for Hillary Clinton. Regalado is not saying.
Click here to read more about Campaign 2016.