New Miami-Dade County Mayor Makes History: Daniella Levine Cava


Mayleila1 via Creative Commons

Miami-Date County awaits the newly elected mayor, Daniella Levine Cava.

Arianna Hoyos, Staff Writer

History was made as Levine Cava, the first-ever woman to be voted in as mayor of the county, won the Nov. 3 election. Also becoming the first non-Hispanic elected in 24 years, the first Jewish mayor and the first liberal-leaning nonpartisan leader since the year 2000, Levine Cava has marked her place in the county’s government. She is set to be sworn in on Nov. 17.

“Miami’s glass ceilings have been shattered,” Daniella Levine Cava said at her victory party in Wynwood after learning she had won the Miami-Dade County mayoral election.

The most populous county in Florida, Miami-Dade, has previously been run by male Cuban-American Republicans. Despite this trend, Miami citizens voted for a change, and Levine Cava won against her conservative opponent Esteban Bovo, earning 54 percent of votes, while Bovo only earned 46 percent. She unseated Carlos Gimenez, the current county mayor who has served since 2011 but is now term-limited.

Levine Cava was ahead of Bovo in most polls and had received support from Miami citizens. Her campaign amassed a diverse group of supporters in addition to the Democratic Party, which had backed her the first time she ran for commissioner. She also gained support by presenting herself throughout her campaign as #AMayorWhoCares. Using this phrase, she stated to Miami citizens that unlike previous mayors, she would listen and address problems that affected every community, and promised to create solutions that could benefit everybody.

While Levine Cava is not a Miami-born native, she moved to the city in 1980 and has lived there ever since. Before her time in the county, she gained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and also received a graduate degree in law and social work from Columbia University. She accomplished her main studies in her home state of New York and completed her last year of law school at the University of Miami after she moved to the city to join her husband.

Ms. Levine Cava served as the Miami-Dade County Commissioner in 2014 and was then reelected in 2018. She represented District 8 which includes Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead and areas of South Dade. During her time as Commissioner, Levine Cava worked to grow the County police force, increase economic opportunity for families, work for the maintenance of parks and the environment and advocate for improvements in city planning and transit.

“It is super inspiring to see how far Miami-Dade County has come. We now have our first female and non-Hispanic mayor which goes to show how our city is changing and breaking old traditions. Levine Cava is extremely qualified and I hope that she will serve our county well,” sophomore Maria Montelongo said.

Similar to her goals as commissioner, Ms. Levine Cava’s mayoral election mainly focuses on improving health care and affordable housing for working-class families, investing in infrastructure and battling climate change through various policies. She promised to address the prosperity gap and rising sea level as well as growing mistrust citizens have in the county government.

Taking on the COVID-19 pandemic, Levine Cava will invest in small businesses, aims to create paid-leave for all workers and wants to support those left unemployed. Rapidly expanding affordable housing in the city is also among her plans to help those affected by the virus. Levine Cava has been working to achieve these goals even before running for mayor. Founding Catalyst Miami in 1996, Levine Cava’s program works to solve issues affecting low-income communities and helps to achieve social and economic mobility and racial equity.

A complete lockdown is unrealistic for the United States. I think that by taking the right precautions and being stricter than Mayor Gimenez, we could keep businesses open while also keeping our community safe. I also believe that if we enforce safety measures that Levine Cava has created on top of following other COVID-19 regulations she wants to enforce, the community will be able to handle the pandemic better.”

— junior Marta Rodriguez

The newly elected mayor promises to update old infrastructure, outdated water systems and old transits that have been affecting the city for quite some time. Levine Cava hopes to invest money into rebuilding this infrastructure and creating new jobs along with it. Starting from her time as commissioner, she has been able to secure around 30 million dollars in funding for infrastructure projects throughout the county.

Levine Cava has earned the name “water warrior” because of her extensive action to counter climate change. She has taken over 30 direct actions to improve the environment and help keep outdoor recreational areas clean. Miami-Dade County citizens can expect climate change action and investment in sustainability once she takes office. Levine Cava will also address the sea level rise threat that many Miamians face.

Levine Cava delivered a speech on election night after learning about her victory. She explains to the audience and her supporters that she will work “harder than ever to lift our county back up.” Miami-Dade County citizens can expect changes from the new mayor who broke the county’s mayoral candidate standards.