While the country continues to follow the debates and discussion surrounding the 2016 presidential election, two council members in North Miami have already filed to run for a race that won’t be decided until May 9, 2017.
Council members Carol Keys and Philippe Bien-Aime both filed for reelection Oct. 1 and assigned campaign treasurers. The two represent Districts 2 and 3 in the city and were both elected to the council in 2013. Their campaign treasurer reports show that in October, primarily thanks to a joint fundraiser, the two raised about $38,000.
Keys raised $15,300 and loaned $10,000 herself. Bien-Aime raised $12,200. Both reported $275 in in-kind contributions, which were used for the fundraiser expenses.
The event took place Oct. 14 at a waterside Hallandale Beach restaurant and was hosted by business owners, community leaders, lobbyists and politicians. The list included Bay Harbor Islands Mayor Jordan Leonard, Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman, lobbyists Ron Book and Evan Ross, developer Jimmy Tate, business owner Clark Reynolds and Realtor Annie Montgomery.
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Bien-Aime said that the early filing decision was made in part to assist with fundraising. In his last campaign, Bien-Aime primarily supported himself through loans to himself.
“Right now the election is not only about grass roots, it’s about money,” Bien-Aime said. “I feel like if I start right now I’ll be able to raise some money for the election.”
Keys said she and Bien-Aime both knew they were filing to run on the same day but the decisions were coincidental. The councilwoman said she wanted to show her commitment to the office.
“I think I’m getting a lot done for my district and the city and I’ve got more work to do,” Keys said.
The vice mayor said she plans to follow all ethical guidelines and that she made the decision early to show dedication to the position.
“I’m not out buying signs or doing anything, but I want to continue reaching out to the public,” Keys said.
In 2013, Keys defeated Mary Irvin in a runoff for District 2 (Irvin was also one of the hosts at the Oct. 14 event). In District 3, Bien-Aime defeated former councilman Jacques Despinosse.
The May 2017 election will be for the District 2 and 3 seats and the mayor’s seat. North Miami council members serve four-year terms; mayors serve two-year terms.
“We have one common view, which is the betterment of the city of North Miami,” Bien-Aime said.