The Group III seat on the Miami Beach Commission will stay in gay hands.
Alex Fernandez won the run-off election becoming the city’s newest commissioner. Fernandez, 35, replaces Michael Góngora, who was term-limited. He won with Góngora’s endorsement after running against him 12 years ago.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the community that will allow there to continue being two openly gay commissioners serving on the dais,” Fernandez told SFGN (Group VI Commissioner David Richardson is also gay). “I will work hard alongside my amazing colleagues to make sure Miami Beach remains a welcoming community that proudly embraces and celebrates its diversity — especially as we advance on efforts to make our city cleaner and safer for all to enjoy.”
In the Nov. 16 run-off, Fernandez got 3,844 votes for 59% to defeat Stephen Cohen, who came in with 2,644 votes for 41%.
Fernandez campaigned on improving safety in Miami Beach and protecting vulnerable communities. Having a fully staffed and the better-equipped police department is a good first step, he said.
“We certainly do need that visibility and well-trained police on sensitivity and diversity issues but it also means working with other levels of law enforcement together with the state attorney and the criminal justice system to ensure proper justice for the community,” Fernandez said. “People must become aware that when they commit these crimes they will be punished, they will be prosecuted and they will go to jail and we gotta keep pushing on that as leaders in the community.”
Fernandez has served on many committees and boards in the city. His infrastructure wish list includes alleviating traffic congestion, mitigating street flooding and establishing a better permitting and inspection process.
“In a post-Surfside collapse world we must make sure our building department permits and inspections are processed efficiently,” Fernandez said. “We need to reclassify essential permits for structural issues, wiring and plumbing and expedite those permits and anything else that has to do with the integrity of a structure, especially historic structures.”