A group of 10 well-known and noted Miami-Dade LGBT leaders have split with two major LGBT rights organizations in Florida over their endorsement for Mayor of Miami-Dade County.
SAVE and Equality Florida endorsed Daniella Levine Cava while the group of 10 endorsed Alex Penelas.
“The LGBTQ community is a very intersectional community and as such faces a variety of challenges including homelessness, domestic abuse and systemic discrimination, all of which Alex recognized and addressed during his tenure as mayor,” said Damian Pardo, one of the members of the group of 10. “We are facing many more challenges in Miami-Dade County today and I believe Alex has the proven vision, leadership and skill to help us work together and move us forward on these critical community issues.”
Other members of the group of 10 include Steve Adkins; Francesco Duberli; Alexis “Marytrini” Fernandez; City of North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin; Miami-Dade Community Councilman-Elect Marco Girón; author Christian de la Huerta; political strategist Jorge Mursuli; and award-winning filmmakers Yvette Larralde and Susanna Taddei.
Penelas knows the job well — he served as mayor from 1996 to 2004. According to Pardo during his time as mayor he helped defeat the repeal of the county’s Human Rights Amendment that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. At the time he led the "No To Discrimination" committee.
Meanwhile Levine Cava, if elected, would be Miami-Dade’s first female mayor. Levine Cava is a current Miami-Dade County commissioner. She was first elected in 2014.
Both of the above candidates are democrats, but officially the race is non-partisan. The open primary will be held August 18. If no one receives a simple majority of the vote the top two finishers will face a run-off in the general election Nov. 3. The current mayor, Carlos Giménez is a Republican, and is term limited out.
“We are thrilled to endorse Daniella Levine Cava as she campaigns to make history as the first woman Mayor of Miami-Dade County. Daniella has been an early and unwavering equality champion for the LGBTQ community and has worked tirelessly to achieve major progress in Miami-Dade County,” said Stratton Pollitzer, Chair of Equality Florida Action PAC. “She has led with vision, integrity and a results-driven agenda guided by the simple philosophy that equal rights make good business sense for the County and ensure that every resident is treated fairly. For her entire career, Daniella has been a fighter not only for the LGBTQ community but for equality and justice for all communities.”
According to Local 10 there are four frontrunners, Levine Cava, Penelas as well as Esteban Bovo and Xavier Suarez. Bovo and Suarez are current Miami-Dade commissioners and both supported the creation of a Miami-Dade LGBTQ Advisory Board, as did Levina Cava.
Orlando Gonzales, the executive director of SAVE, referred to Levine Cava and Penelas as “two staunchly pro-LGBT candidates.”
“Ultimately, the panel recommended Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava as SAVE's choice for Mayor…,” he said. “We are excited for Commissioner Levine Cava's candidacy as county Mayor and we're proud to see her continuing to ascend since she led the effort to add gender identity to the Human Rights Ordinance."