OpEd: City of Miami Commissioners Should – Give Us The Ballot!

“The residents of District 5 deserve a choice” 
Michael Hepburn

Michael Hepburn

by Michael Hepburn

 [MIAMI] – This contentious presidential election just showcased how vital it is in our Democracy for the will of the people to be heard. One of the most important tools that our citizens have access to is the power of their Vote and advocating that our fellow man uses that tool should always be at the forefront – if you are a Leader.

The City of Miami four remaining City Commissioners have the chance to do just that.

With the upcoming vacancy of out-going City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon (recently elected as a Miami Dade County Commissioner – District 3), the City of Miami Charter gives the Miami Commission ten days starting on November 17, 2020, to appoint someone to the seat or to call for a special election – so the residents of District 5 can choose their next Commissioner.

Currently the City Commissioners have scheduled a special commission meeting to take place on November 18th, 2020 at 10am – to make this decision.

However, as a native son of Little Haiti who has resided in our city for 30+ years, and who lives in District 5. As an aspirant to become the next Commissioner from District 5, in our regularly scheduled November 2021 election. After visiting now more than 4,000 households of voters who reside throughout our district over the last four months. The feedback is crystal clear – Give Us The Ballot!

I understand the arguments on both sides, some Commissioners may feel that it’s not worth the cost to have a special election, especially since we are currently facing a budgetary deficit and still navigating Covid-19 recovery.

However, if we truly do believe in a Democracy – what price are you willing to put on allowing our people the opportunity to vote for their representation.

What circumstances is okay to impede the right for people to Vote, since so many have advocated, marched, been beaten, and have died to access this precious gift.

The will of the people is clear and as a champion for affordable housing, economic & workforce development, safe & secure neighborhoods, and high-quality education for all of us. This age of time demands nothing less.

 

Michael Hepburn (38), serves as a Coordinator for the Institute of Civic Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College. His professional work experience includes working as a Director of Operations for Progressive Turnout Project; Senior Advisor for University of Miami Business School; and as a Junior Executive for the National Football League.

Michael is an Educator, Civic Activist, and Mentor who served as a Citizen-On-Patrol with Miami Police Department; Co-Founder of the Allapattah Neighborhood Association; and City of Miami Parks & Recreation Advisory Board member.

He’s a proud Miami native and Alumnus of Miami Dade County Public Schools, Mami Dade College, and Florida International University.  

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