In less than a month, Miami Lakes voters will hit the polls to elect a new mayor and a council member in an Oct. 1 special election.
The election is the result of Gov. Rick Scott’s suspension of Mayor Michael Pizzi following his Aug. 6 arrest on federal charges of conspiring to commit extortion.
Five candidates are running for mayor and three for the Seat 4 council position, as of the close of the qualifying period Aug.30.
In the running for mayor are Dr. Dave Bennett, Councilman Nelson Hernandez and former Miami Lakes Mayor Wayne Slaton and Realtor Edwin Romero.
New to the race is teacher Luis Espinosa, 51, who filed his paperwork on Aug.28.
“I think Miami Lakes needs a fresh face and a new beginning,” said Espinosa, a teacher at Miami Edison Senior High School. “It seems like it’s the same people running over and over for different offices.”
Espinosa said he hopes to bring a new perspective to the dais.
Attorney Lorenzo Cobiella and Francisco “Frank” Mingo, who works for a supply-chain management company, are running for the seat held by Hernandez, who resigned last month to run for mayor, as previously reported.
Realtor Star Rodriguez became the third candidate in the council race after handing in her paperwork on Aug.26.
“ I wanted to bring a woman’s perspective and view to the council,” said Rodriguez, 48. “Currently we do not have a woman on the council and I wanted to bring more of a sincerity and a representation of the true residents.”
If elected Rodriguez said she will focus on maintaining Miami Lakes’ small-town feel.
The Miami Lakes charter mandates that an election take place within 90 days of an official leaving office, when a seat becomes vacant with six months or more remaining in a term.
In this case, Pizzi was elected in 2012 to a four-year term
“I am still mayor and as soon as I get exonerated I will be returning as mayor,” Pizzi said an interview with the Miami Herald. “Whoever is running right now is running to temporarily occupy my mayoral job until I come back.”