- In an op-ed published this week in the Miami Herald, Miami's newly-elected mayor Francis Suarez highlighted his goals and proposals for his time in office.
- Suarez said the city's main challenges are limited mobility and transportation infrastructure; affordable housing; and climate resiliency. To address these challenges, he hopes to introduce "smart, innovative and creative" solutions such as leveraging the Miami Forever bond for affordable housing improvements and flood prevention; increasing responsible development such as an overhaul of the Special Area Plan; and leveraging technology as an economic driver.
- Suarez also suggested a new system of government in which "the mayor has the power to make administrative decisions and is responsible directly to residents." He wrote he will bring this proposal as a referendum to next year's ballot.
Suarez, son of former Mayor Xavier Suarez who served from 1985 to 1993 and then again in 1997 through 1998, is no stranger to Miami's challenges. Having been born and raised in the city, Suarez served as the City Commissioner of District 4 for eight years, and also had a leadership position on the Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization. When sworn in as mayor earlier this month, Suarez said he will pledge "fairness, integrity and civility" to Miami residents.
Suarez's promises to bring a new level of resiliency and technology to the city are appropriate, especially following the devastating hurricane that ripped through the city earlier this year. The Miami Forever bond, which was approved on the same day that Suarez was elected mayor, will allow Suarez to prioritize long-term strategies that will position Miami for a resilient future — and may become a model for other coastal cities to mimic.
Suarez wrote in his op-ed that the city is now being led by a "new generation," and while he was likely implying to the literal progression of leadership in his family line, he is also hinting at a new style of governance. By proposing a "strong voter" system in Miami, the city may see a shift in the way that administrative decisions are made — which will likely have a lasting impact on Miami.