Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán will not seek re-election when her four-year term ends in November.
Alemán announced the decision at a City Commission meeting on Wednesday, citing a desire to spend more time with her family.
“While I may consider a future role in public service, the timing is right for me now with both sons in their teens to focus on their needs and see them successfully launched on to college and their own adult lives,” Alemán said, reading from a letter she wrote.
In another surprise announcement, former State Rep. David Richardson said later Wednesday that he plans to run for Alemán’s seat in November.
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Alemán was first elected in 2015, which means she could have served another four years before she hit her term limit.
The commissioner has been a vocal proponent of the city’s plans to prepare for sea level rise, including raising roads — a controversial strategy among residents. Alemán has sponsored legislation to change the city’s code to make it easier for homeowners to adapt their properties when the city raises roads. Alemán has also tackled other controversial issues including coming up with a plan to reign in rogue motorized scooter rentals.
“I may not have always told constituents what they wanted to hear, but certainly always what they needed to know, even at the risk of being the bearer of unwelcome news,” Alemán said.
The commissioner cited the recently completed Miami Beach Convention Center, a crackdown on massage parlors linked to human trafficking, and plans for North Beach’s Town Center as some of her accomplishments.
Richardson, an accountant, was first elected to the state House in 2012. He was re-elected twice, but then chose not to seek a fourth term in 2018 so he could run for Congress, but ultimately lost to Donna Shalala.
Alemán’s decision means two of the commission seats on the November ballot won’t have an incumbent in the race.
Former Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez was forced to resign last year when she ran for the same congressional seat as Richardson in order to comply with an expanded state resign-to-run law. The City Commission appointed former Commissioner Joy Malakoff last month to serve out the remainder of Rosen Gonzalez’s term, but Malakoff has said she will not run in November.
So far, three candidates have filed paperwork to run for this seat: Steven Jay Meiner, a lawyer; Rafael Velasquez, a former commission candidate; and Michael Barrineau, a member of the city’s planning board.
Mayor Dan Gelber and Commissioner Ricky Arriola are also up for re-election in November. Neither has filed paperwork to run yet, but both have said they plan to.