The Coral Gables election is about four months away and the field of candidates is starting to come together, including Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick, who has filed to run for mayor.
Slesnick is nearly half way through the four-year term she won in April 2015 and said she chose to run for mayor because she wants to have a greater impact and set the commission’s agenda.
“I feel that I’m an asset to the city and the citizens and I want to represent them more,” Slesnick said.
She is the newest commissioner on the dais, but she’s been involved in the Gables for decades and is the wife of former mayor Don Slesnick. He was mayor from 2001-11, when he lost to current Mayor Jim Cason.
Slesnick views her husband’s name recognition as an asset and said she has often turned to him for advice in her current role on the commission.
“If I need to know when something happened or how something happened, I ask him,” Slesnick said.
In her time on the dais, Slesnick has opposed certain large or controversial developments, including the Paseo de la Riviera and Gables Station projects. She’s also placed an emphasis on resident engagement by producing a newsletter, conducting surveys and hosting town hall meetings.
“I’m very conservative when it comes to spending money, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s,” Slesnick said. “I tend to vote for the neighborhoods and for those people who are already in town and in our community.”
Slesnick previously served as chairwoman of the city’s cultural affairs advisory board and made an unsuccessful run for the commission back in 1983.
No one else has officially filed to run for mayor and the position is a two-year term. Slesnick said she didn’t want to delay the decision like she did when she ran for her commission seat in 2015.
Commissioners Vince Lago’s and Patricia Keon’s seats are also up on the April 11 ballot and Lago has filed for reelection.
This election will also be the first in the city’s history where a runoff election could take place, after voters approved a charter amendment to create runoff elections this past November. Candidates will have to secure a simple majority of the vote (50 percent plus one vote) to avoid a runoff.
The official qualifying dates for candidates are Feb. 20 through Feb. 24 and residents have until March 13 to register to vote in the election.