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Raquel Regalado: I am running for Miami-Dade mayor

@doug_hanks

School board member Raquel Regalado said Sunday she plans to run for Miami-Dade mayor, saying the county needs a “different direction” than the one offered by Carlos Gimenez, who has held the office since 2011.

“I think the decisions being made right now are having such a dramatic impact on our lives,” Regalado, 40, said in an interview Sunday, referring to Gimenez. “I don’t think we need to raise taxes. I do think we need to re-evaluate how we’re conducting business, and rethink our priorities.”

Anticipated for weeks, Regalado’s announcement brings Gimenez, 61, his first official opponent as he gears up to run for his second full term on a pledge of flat taxes, administrative competence and shared prosperity. It also draws a formal political dividing line between the mayors of Miami-Dade and Miami, where Regalado’s father,  Tomás Regalado, serves as mayor.

Regalado said she plans to file formal candidacy papers Monday, and will also release a series of campaign videos highlighting her message.

Regalado has already released two anti-Gimenez videos – one criticizing his Feb. 26 State of the County speech and the other slamming  a mega-mall project he wants to bring to Miami-Dade. She also joined billionaire activist Norman Braman in suing both Miami and Miami-Dade over SkyRise Miami, a project that city voters approved in August that won a county subsidy with Gimenez’s backing after the successful referendum. Regalado and Braman claim the county dollars violate the referendum’s description of a privately-funded project.

Regalado’s planned run for mayor sets up a battle between a two-term school board member with little administrative experience and  a long-time public administrator now in his fifth year as Miami-Dade’s top  executive.  

Once a practicing intellectual-property lawyer, Regalado hosts a daily Spanish-language radio program on La Poderosa but listed no income from the show on her latest school-board disclosure form.  She surrendered her home in early 2014 after a lender started foreclosure proceedings.  Regalado blamed the lapsed mortgage  in part on therapy bills for her daughter, who has autism.

Regalado  is counting on dissatisfaction with Gimenez, a former county commissioner and city manager for Miami who won office in 2011 after the recall of then-Mayor Carlos Alvarez. Shortly  after taking office, Gimenez pushed through a reversal of Alvarez’s unpopular increase in property taxes amid the housing crash. Gimenez was elected to his first full term in 2012.

In the interview, Regalado said she expects to be attacked over her experience. She noted Carlos Curbelo used his school-board experience as a basis for a successful run for Congress. And Regalado said her role as an elected leader and single mom gives her the kind of experience Miami-Dade could use.

"The last two mayors we've had were lifelong government employees," she said, referring to Gimenez and Alvarez, a former county police chief. "How's that working out?"

"I am the first to admit I'm not what would be considered a typical candidate," Regalado said. "That's fine."

 In videos and in public statements, Regalado has criticized Gimenez for county job cuts and budget woes.  Last year, she gained considerable media attention by championing the opposition to a proposed property-tax hike to replace Miami-Dade’s civil courthouse, a proposal Gimenez supported.

The daughter of famous parents, Regalado brings one of the most recognizable local names in politics to the race. Along with her father, the Miami mayor, Regalado’s mother,  Raquel Regalado, was an influential radio host on La Poderosa before her death in 2008.

The younger Regalado capitalized on her name-recognition in 2010 when she tromped the other  candidates  for the school board’s District 6 seat.

 Now in her second term, Regalado has  emerged as the second-most visible voice of the school system, behind Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. The two of them led the successful 2012 referendum that authorized higher property taxes for school repairs and technology updates. 

Gimenez and his re-election finance chairman, Ralph Garcia-Toledo, were not immediately available for comment.  

UPDATE: School board member Raquel Regalado said Sunday afternoon she is running for Miami-Dade mayor in 2016. "I'm running for county mayor because I think the county needs to go in a different direction," she said in an interview.

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School board member Raquel Regalado intends to formally announce her run for Miami-Dade mayor in a pair of television interviews Sunday, according to a source familiar with Regalado’s  plans.

Anticipated for weeks, Regalado’s planned announcement would bring incumbent Carlos Gimenez his first official opponent as he gears up to run for his second full term. It also would draw a formal political dividing line between the mayors of Miami-Dade and Miami, where Regalado’s father,  Tomás Regalado, serves as mayor.

Raquel Regalado was not immediately available for comment this afternoon.

The source said Regalado, 40, was lining up two television interviews Sunday for the announcement – one in English and one in Spanish. Regalado plans to file formal candidacy papers Monday, the source said, and will release a series of campaign videos highlighting her message.

Even without an announcement, the two-term school board member has increasingly looked like a mayoral candidate. She has already released two anti-Gimenez videos – one criticizing his Feb. 26 State of the County speech and the other slamming  a mega-mall project he wants to bring to Miami-Dade.

Regaladoresponse

She also joined billionaire activist Norman Braman in suing both Miami and Miami-Dade over SkyRise Miami, a project that city voters approved in August that won a county subsidy with Gimenez’s backing after the successful referendum. Regalado and Braman claim the county dollars violate the referendum’s description of a privately-funded project.

Regalado’s planned run for mayor sets up a battle between a two-term school board member with little administrative experience and  a long-time public administrator now in his fifth year as Miami-Dade’s top  executive.  

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