District 5


Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, who is term-limited, will leave her District 5 seat as a popular representative in Miami’s poorest district, which runs from Overtown north though Little Haiti to Liberty City. With redistricting, though, more upscale communities like the Upper Eastside have added needed diversity to District 5.

Voters should be pleased with the qualifications of candidates in this race.

Richard Dunn II, who was appointed to the seat by then-Gov. Charlie Crist for almost two years until Ms. Spence-Jones was cleared of criminal corruption charges, is a pastor who has support from a wide array of elected officials. The Rev. Dunn and Keon Hardemon, an attorney with the public defender’s office and scion to a politically active family, are seen as the two front-runners in this race. Mr. Hardemon also has support from various leaders, including Ms. Spence-Jones.

Robert Malone Jr., an educator, has the backing of various homeowner associations. And then there is Jacqui Colyer, the director of Neighborhood & Community Services for the Children’s Trust. Ms. Colyer, a founding member and past president of the Human Services Coalition/Catalyst Miami, has a long career overseeing programs for neglected or abused children and also served as a director for the Miami-Dade County housing department, as well as chief operations officer for Lockheed Martin’s workforce programs.

Our choice is Ms. Colyer. She may not have the big money behind her in this race, but she has big ideas to move her district forward.

Ms. Colyer’s background in civic, social and community-service work — and knowledge of operating under tight budgets as a former head of the Department of Children & Families in Miami-Dade — gives her a unique perspective needed on the commission.

Ms. Colyer’s other big plus: She knows procurement rules and is involved in the Good Government Initiative, a program started at the University of Miami by former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson to help newly elected officials understand that ethics in government is not a slogan but a way of life.

Among Ms. Colyer’s priorities for District 5: Pushing for more economic development to create jobs in the district, more public safety initiatives to protect children and families and a “real plan for all of the vacant homes and empty lots that are ever present” in the area. She also wants to make sure that well-off areas in the district are not ignored.

For Miami City Commission, District 5, the Miami Herald recommends JACQUI COLYER.

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