By Jim DeFede

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) —  2017 was a year to remember, especially when it comes to politics.

The year saw the election of new mayors with familiar last names.

Francis Suarez was elected Miami mayor, a position his father Xavier Suarez, held in the 1980s.

“As we embark on this new era for the city of Miami, we must be ready to meet the challenges of the future,” Francis Suarez said on Election night.

In addition, there is a new era in Miami Beach as well, with Dan Gelber winning easily his race for mayor.

“So my commitment to you is I appreciate the trust you’ve given me, but it doesn’t end there,” Gelber said the night he won. “Every single day I will work to earn the trust you’ve given me to make sure this city remains the special place it is. God bless this city and God bless all of you.”

In the nineties, Gelber’s father, Seymour Gelber was the Miami Beach Mayor.

The other hot issue on the Beach, an ordinance to scale back liquor sales along Ocean Drive. That measure went down in flames and so the party continues.

South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz took a hit when former Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile came out with a new book accusing Wasserman-Schultz of both favoring Hillary Clinton and being a lousy DNC chair.

It was a charge Wasserman-Schultz repeatedly brushed aside.

“I’m focused on doing the best job I can for my constituents here in the 23rd Congressional District,” she said when pressed by reporters for a response to Brazile’s book. “My focus, which is what my constituents elected me to do, is to make sure I can fight for the things that they care about.”

This year also saw not one, not two, but three state legislators from South Florida fall from grace.

First, there was State Senator Frank Artiles, who resigned from the Senate after it was revealed he used racist and sexist language in conversations with Senator Audrey Gibson.

“I extend a heartfelt apology to my colleagues and to all of those I have offended,” he said before stepping down. “I am so sorry for the words and the tone I used with you.”

Also resigning in disgrace, State Representative Daisy Baez, who lied about living in her district, and State Senator Jeff Clemens from Palm Beach stepped down after it was discovered he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

The ‘Me Too’ movement hit Tallahassee hard with one of the most powerful men in the state facing accusations of groping and sexual harassment. State Senator Jack Latvala a candidate for governor and the chair of the budget committee was facing hearings by his colleagues over his behavior. He resigned on December 20th but still maintained his innocence.

The year is coming to a close just as it started, with President Donald Trump comfortably ensconced at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.


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