Katie Abbott wins only contested Pinecrest village council seat

Katie Abbott
Katie Abbott

Katie Abbott beat James Field Jr. in the only contested race in the village of Pinecrest with more than 51 percent of over 8,000 votes in the race.

Abbott, who watched the results come in at a party at her home, said she was thrilled. She felt the campaign had a partisan feel to it, despite its nonpartisan status. “My goal is to bridge the divide. Our village is a family,” Abbott said.

The first thing she’s hoping to fix is Pinecrest’s water issue. About 800 of the city’s homes are plugged into a well water supply and do not have access to city water.

Abbott is a local education advocate who previously worked as a project manager for publishing house Scholastic. Abbott, 44, was endorsed by former Pinecrest mayors Cindy Lerner and Evelyn Greer, and Ruth’s List Florida, an advocacy group that supports Democratic women running for office in the state. She graduated from Duke and Columbia University. A six-time marathoner, she is on the board of South Florida Triathletes and advocates for fitness for kids and seniors.

Field is a consultant and former director of business and development for Frey Farms, a family-run grower and packer of produce. Field, 30, was backed by the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, the county’s largest police union. He’s a University of Miami graduate and a former professional golfer.

Incumbent Cheri Ball could have run again for Seat 4 but chose not to. Ball was vice mayor of the village, a ceremonial position that rotates among four council members annually.

Seat 2, the only other position up for reelection, was snagged by incumbent Doug Kraft, a retired firefighter and paramedic. Kraft ran unopposed and won automatically.

Voters approved three of four charter amendments. They include:

Referendum 2: This amendment allows council members to serve staggered terms, so that those from Seats 1, 2 and 3 be elected in one cycle and the at-large council member and mayor be elected in another cycle.

Referendum 3: This adds specific penalties, “including fines, censures and reprimands,” for violations of the village charter not otherwise covered by the law.

Referendum 4: This amendment strikes any provisions in the village charter that have “become obsolete or are in conflict with state law.”

Voters did not approve a charter amendment related to term limits. More than 60 percent voted against the measure. Referendum 1 would have allowed residents to serve as a combination of mayor and council member for more than 12 consecutive years; the existing cap is eight years.