José Valdés-Fauli is hoping to bring some fiscal sense to the Coral Gables government and in the process make history.

Valdés-Fauli, 69, is running for an open seat on the Coral Gables Commission.

“It’s the first time Coral Gables will elect a gay commissioner,” Valdés-Fauli said.

The longtime businessman is confident of his prospects and has the backing of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and SAVE.

Orlando Gonzales, SAVE Executive Director, said his organization is excited to endorse Valdés-Fauli.

“His history with the LGBTQ community is strong,” Gonzales said. “He was heavily involved with the early response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Florida and in the formative years of SAVE. He is well-poised to serve public office by leveraging his years of experience in the financial services and banking industry.”

Valdés-Fauli sprung into action in the 1980s to help form the Health Crisis Network that delivered vital services to people living with HIV/AIDS. It was while serving on the board of Miami’s Mercy Hospital that Valdés-Fauli met his partner of 28 years, Shed Boren.

“He was very intelligent,” Valdés-Fauli recalled when asked about his initial attraction. Boren is a social worker and professor at Florida International University.

As a former head of four different banks, Valdés-Fauli, said he will draw on his 35 years of experience in finance to steer Coral Gables in the right direction. Due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the city needs to be prepared for a budget deficit and property reassessments, Valdés-Fauli said. He is against changing city code to allow more density and larger buildings.

“I believe that market forces should determine the outcome, and the concepts of supply and demand should prevail,” Valdés-Fauli wrote in a letter to Gables Insider

Valdés-Fauli is one of six candidates campaigning for the commission’s group two seat. Vote by mail is underway with the election scheduled for April 13.

“Most likely there will be a run-off,” said Bentonne Snay, president of the Coral Gables Democratic Club. The club has endorsed Valdés-Fauli.

“He espouses Democratic values, not just LGBTQ, but environmental rights, civil rights and women’s rights,” Snay said. “He’s always been a huge supporter of the arts and was one of the main people to bring Art Basel to Miami.”

Snay said voters should not confuse Valdés-Fauli with his brother, Raúl, the outgoing Mayor, who Snay said has a different temperament.

“José is a very warm person,” Snay said.

The family fled Fidel Castro’s Cuba and Raúl was first elected Mayor in 1993. 

Branded “The City Beautiful” Coral Gables has an estimated population of just under 50,000 residents. It was constructed as a planned community with a Mediterranean theme by George E. Merrick in the 1920s. The University of Miami is the city’s largest employer.

“José will bring fiscal savvy to the commission which is a helpful skill to ensure that public dollars are managed appropriately,” said Gonzales.

A retiree with time on his hands is another asset to his candidacy, Snay said.

“He can give more time to the budget,” Snay said. “And plus, he’s not a lawyer. We already have a bunch of lawyers.”