Miramar residents will be headed to the polls March 12 to decide whether incumbents in two races will hold onto their jobs, or if newcomers will be joining the city commission.
A third incumbent, Alexandra Davis, is running unopposed.
For Seat 2, current Vice Mayor Troy Samuels faces a challenge from Yvette Colbourne.
Samuels, a builder by trade, has been a commissioner for eight years and has lived in Miramar for 14 years.
Samuels, 42, said he would continue focusing on economic stability within the city.
“We’ve cut the budget $54,000 over the last five years,’’ Samuels said. “We’ve kept the rates steady and improved capital services throughout the city. My commitment is to move forward with that line of thinking.”
Quoting Abraham Lincoln when he ran for his second term as president — “Don’t swap horses in the middle of a stream” — Samuels added “I think we need to keep someone on the commission who is going to keep us through tough economic times.’’
Colbourne, 51, and a Miramar resident for 20 years, said she wishes to bridge the gap between east and west Miramar.
“There is an undeniable tangible and visible gap between the levels of municipal services provided to east and west Miramar. It is unacceptable for the public right of way on the west side to look aesthetically better than the right of way on the east side,” said Colbourne.
Colbourne also said she would work to make sure Miramar benefits from the business development and job creation opportunities associated with the expansion of the Port of Miami and Panama Canal.
Although this is Colbourne’s first run at public office, she has worked as an administrator for Miami-Dade County for 30 years.
A distinct difference between Samuels and Colbourne is their view on term limits.
While Samuels prefers no term limits, Colbourne believes in term limits for all elected officials.
For Seat 3, incumbent Winston Barnes is facing his second challenge from Alejandro Casas.
Barnes, 64, has lived in Miramar for 14 years and has served as a city commissioner for 10 years. He is the news director at WAVS 1170 AM radio in Fort Lauderdale and teaches a voice and diction course as an adjunct professor at Florida Memorial University.
“If you think you’re looking at a politician, you need glasses,” Barnes. “If you think you’re listening to a politician, you need hearing aids and I’ll tell you why. It is not about politics, it’s about service,” said Barnes.
Among the responsibilities of a city commissioner, Barnes said, is to be the voice of the people.
Casas, 64, has lived in Miramar for 10 years and been involved in international business for more than 25 years.
“Since I have worked all my life in middle management of large international companies, I know that my experience would be an asset to the dais and thus to the city,” Casas said.
Casas plans to review all items in the city’s budget, and set up a sales and marketing plan to increase the revenues from any underutilized assets.
One way of doing such, Casas said, “will be to market these assets to all Fortune 500 companies in Broward, so as to bring Miramar regional and international events.”
Davis, who is running unopposed, has been commissioner for two years.
For her upcoming term, Davis would like to focus on forming a sister city partnership, which encourages international trade. She would also like to establish a youth apprentice program and fashion a business incubator partnership.
Davis would additionally like to craft a neighborhoods’ challenge to encourage pride in Miramar’s neighborhoods and cohesiveness among neighbors.
The winners in the March election will serve four-year terms and join Mayor Lori Moseley and Commissioner Wayne Messam on the dais. All city representatives are elected at-large.
Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.