Coral Gables

Early field of candidates takes shape in Coral Gables election

Coral Gables City Hall.
Coral Gables City Hall. Miami Herald File

The field of candidates is taking shape for the April 11 election in Coral Gables, where residents will choose a mayor and three city commissioners.

The latest additions to the field are Randy Hoff, vice president of the Coral Gables Fraternal Order of Police; and Commissioner Patricia Keon, who is running for reelection.

Hoff is running to fill the remainder of Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick’s term as she seeks the mayoral seat. He has never held public office but has served on the city’s general employee retirement board. Hoff said resident safety is something he wants to focus on and he thinks he can bring a unique perspective to the dais.

“I pledge to work with my fellow commissioners and make sure that’s the most important thing, that our residents feel safe,” Hoff said. “We are an oasis in the middle of an urban area and I want to keep it that way.”

Keon initially considered a run for mayor but decided against it after Slesnick announced her candidacy.

“The national elections were very fractious and I don’t need to be mayor and have to go through a very fractious race,” said Keon, who plans to focus on education issues and finding a middle ground between developers, city staff and residents as the city considers more large-scale and mixed-use projects.

“We have some people on the commission who don’t want to work with developers,” she said. “I do. I think if we have good quality developer and they have property they want to develop we have to work with them,” Keon said.

Slesnick currently faces one opponent in her bid for mayor: former Coral Gables Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli. Slesnick is running after about two years on the city commission and Valdés-Fauli served as mayor from 1993 to 2001, when Slesnick’s husband, Coral Gables attorney Don Slesnick defeated him at the polls. Don Slesnick then served a decade as mayor.

Commissioner Vince Lago has also filed for reelection and currently has no opposition.

The official candidate qualifying period runs Feb. 20-24. Residents have until March 13 to register to vote in the election. Runoff elections are set for April 25 if any candidate doesn’t secure a simple majority—50 percent plus one vote.

Lance Dixon: 305-376-3708, @LDixon_3