Roger Coriat was surprised when he found out earlier this month he was the only candidate running for Seat 3 on the Cutler Bay Town Council. But the 39-year-old, who was born in Venezuela, is seizing an opportunity to be involved in the town he moved to in 2009.
“It actually surprises me that, out of approximately 8,000 registered voters within District 3 of our town, I was the only one that considered running for office and followed through with it,” Coriat said.
Coriat will fill the seat vacated by incumbent council member Peggy Bell, who is running for mayor against Art Nanni. Since no one else entered the race, Coriat was elected automatically. He will take office in December.
“I think Peggy Bell has been a dedicated and effective leader in her eight years on the town’s council,” Coriat said. “She, along with the rest of the council, have inspired me to follow in their footsteps, and continue the great work they’ve done putting Cutler Bay on the map.”
Aside from regularly attending Town Council meetings, Coriat served on the town’s education advisory committee.
“I would invite the residents of Cutler Bay to get involved in our town’s affairs, approach their council members with confidence, and freely voice their concerns,” Coriat said. “One of the reasons I became interested in serving the town was the fact that I could easily communicate with the town’s leaders and staff. I want to offer the same to our residents as I take my place on the council.
Coriat has been an adjunct instructor at Miami Dade College since 2010 and has been a social studies teacher at John A. Ferguson High School for nine years.
Coriat came to South Florida along with his Cuban mother, father, and sister in 1977 and has since lived in Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Kendall, and Cutler Bay.
After graduating from Coral Gables High School, Coriat attended the University of Miami and received his master of arts in history in 1998.
Coriat said his goals as council member include: ensuring responsible growth while maintaining small-town qualities, protecting the natural environment, and continuing the work the council has done in “establishing and maintaining the excellent schools within our town.”
“Of course, I have not supported every decision made by our council, and I know there will be issues I and other council members will disagree on,” Coriat said. “However, as long as we remember our commitment to civil discourse and the power of compromise, I believe we will continue to be an effective voice for our town.”