Yet another candidate has filed to run for Miami's District 2 commission seat.
Ken Russell, the South Grove resident who fought the city over its cleanup plans for contaminated Merrie Christmas Park, filed campaign papers Monday. Russell is the seventh candidate to run for the seat, which is held by term-limited Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
Read the news release after the jump.
Office of Ken Russell for Miami Commissioner District 2
For Immediate Release
February 23, 2015
Ken Russell Enters Miami District 2 Commission Race
Local-born entrepreneur and community organizer Ken Russell declared his candidacy for Miami City Commissioner for District 2. Ken submitted the candidacy forms at Miami City Hall this morning to Elections Coordinator Dwight Danie. Russell is the 7th candidate running for Commissioner in the upcoming November election for the District that includes Coconut Grove, Brickell, Downtown, and all of the waterfront up to Morningside.
Ken got involved in local politics when he learned of toxic contamination in several City of Miami parks including Merrie Christmas Park in front of his home. The city had no intention of removing the contaminated soil unless the residents would raise their own funds. Russell gathered neighbors, contacted the media, and worked with city officials to remove the contamination at no cost to the residents.
Despite this success, Russell does not consider himself an environmental activist, stating "The issue in this case happened to be a contaminated park, but the same philosophy of collaboration and negotiation could be applied to any problem in the city. My business background has taught me to build relationships through communication. I want to use those skills to get involved as Commissioner and improve the City of Miami."
Russell is a proponent of smart development that is surpassed only by smarter infrastructure and public transportation solutions. He believes in the value of green space and Miami's unique quality of life. He believes that since the economy is up (along with city budget reserves), that we should value our city employees and police force who are still recovering from cuts implemented during the recession. He believes in open communication with residents and collaboration with neighboring municipalities.
Other than his work with the parks, Russell is best known in the area for co-founding and organizing one of the country's largest standup paddleboard races which has raised over $100,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami in conjunction with the Orange Bowl Committee. Ken is co-founder of a wholesale distribution company that specializes in water sports gear. Previously, he and his brother ran a successful promotional marketing company that serviced Coca-Cola bottlers in more than 40 countries and managed more than 150 employees worldwide. Russell speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.
Ken is using his business and marketing background to help his campaign stand out from the other candidates. He's off to a quick start with a campaign website, Facebook page, twitter, instagram, and Youtube Channel all adopting the hashtag #ILoveMiami. Russell's first video message went live today: http://youtu.be/qHPV3PjTzc4 He's planning a big effort to improve voter participation which is at less than 6% of population in his district.
Russell is not shy about his unique past. Ken was born in Coral Gables and lives in Coconut Grove with his wife who is a veterinarian, three children, two dogs, and two cats. His father held the original patent on the modern toy yo-yo. In high school, Ken became a professional yo-yo player and traveled the world teaching the toy to thousands of kids. He is a musician and a wood sculptor and once surfed a kite board 50 miles from Ft. Lauderdale (almost) to the Bahamas. The complete story of his interesting past and his plan for the future of MIami can be found at his website: www.kenrussellformiami.com