The local municipal election for Miami Springs is still eight months away and over a year away for Virginia Gardens, but that doesn’t mean an important decision won’t need to be made by local voters.
On Tuesday, Aug. 26, voters from around the state will go to the polls for both Republican and Democratic primary elections and one of those, Florida State House Representative, District 111, will involve the communities of Virginia Gardens and Miami Springs.
Running for the Republican seat, vacated by Chairman Eddy Gonzalez, will be Miami Springs resident Alex Anthony and Hialeah resident and Miami Springs High school alum Bryan Avila.
A chance to get to know the two of them up close and personal and perhaps ask a pertinent question or two will arrive next week.
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Sponsored by Miami-Springs.com, both Anthony and Avila will be at Woodys West End Tavern, 600 Payne Drive, for a Candidate Meet & Greet event on Wednesday, Aug. 20 beginning at 7 p.m.
Citizens who attend will have an opportunity to meet the candidates, discuss the issues that are important to you and come away with the information you need to make the right choice on Aug. 26.
If Anthony’s name sounds familiar, it should. Eighteen months ago he ran against four other candidates for the vacated Group I seat on the Miami Springs Council, finishing third behind Nestor Suarez and winner Michael Windrem.
Anthony, 47, is a native of Newark, N.J, a father of four, is the owner of Drexel Insurance and once headed a 900-employee organization that he sold to a publicly traded firm.
“I’m excited and looking forward to the event,” said Anthony, a Miami Springs resident for the last 14 years and a member of the Miami Springs Recreation Commission.
He did not hesitate when asked what his priorities will be if elected to office.
“First, bringing the senior citizens the services that they need,” he said. “I don’t believe that we’re spending enough state dollars on services for the seniors and secondly in so far as the City of Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens as a whole bringing tax dollars from the state back to the Springs and VG that they deserve and not let the money go to other parts of the state and thirdly a complete commitment to conservative values because I don’t believe there is enough of a commitment to that up in Tallahassee.
“Finally, there needs to be a little bit of moving away from the lobbyists and special interests. I’m certainly looking forward to meeting the local residents and answering any of their questions at this upcoming forum on Aug. 20 at Woodys.”
Avila was born, raised and still lives in Hialeah. He is 30 and graduated from Springs High School in 2002. He is married to his middle school sweetheart, Cindy Gil-Avila, is an Adjunct Professor at Miami Dade College and a member of the City of Hialeah Planning and Zoning Board. His long list of endorsements includes Miami Springs councilmen Billy Bain and Jaime Petralanda along with VG councilman Jorge Arce.
“The residents can expect several things from me,” said Avila. “I will always work hard, be accessible to them, and serve as their voice in Tallahassee. In addition, residents can expect me to focus on policies to create jobs, improve our economy, cut government waste, and protect our state’s rights against liberal policies from Washington, D.C. Most of all, residents can expect me to represent them with honor, integrity and effectiveness.”
Avila was then asked what he felt the most pressing issues were for Springs and VG residents.
“Aside from the primary ballot, important issues facing Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens residents are economic security and prosperity, access to a reliable job market,” said Avila. “Also, battling against continuous cost-of-living and tax increases as well. These are the issues I will focus on should I have the privilege to serve as their state representative.”
Early voting began Monday, Aug. 11 and will be ongoing through Sunday, Aug. 24. The closest polling place for River Cities residents will be Miami-Dade County Election headquarters in Doral, 2700 NW 87th Ave. Voters are reminded they can go to any of the designated sites throughout the Early Voting period, unlike Election Day when they must go to their assigned precinct.
For the complete list of Early Voting locations and hours of operation, you may visit the Elections Department website at www.iamelectionready.org.