Compared to two years ago, when the entire city council ran unopposed, Miami Springs’ April 6 municipal election will be competitive.
Councilwoman Maria Mitchell is unopposed in her bid to replace outgoing Mayor Billy Bain, and two people – Jacky Bravo and Vivian Isla-Rey – are looking to fill Mitchell’s Seat 2 position.
Bravo is a broker for Bravo International Real Estate and has been a Miami Springs resident since she was a child.
“I feel like we don’t have a vision for Miami Springs,” said Bravo, “I just want to come in and start on a fresh start.”
She said she does not want to criticize what previous council members have done, but hopes to focus on bringing new ideas to the table.
“At least they put their time into the city and the community, and I respect that,” she said.
On her website, she wrote that she is committed to serving the residents, supporting public safety, enforcing proper taxation and contributing to the city’s growth and prosperity.
Bravo’s competitor, Isla-Rey, has lived in the city for 23 years and has never run for city council before, but feels like now is the right time.
“My kids are in college and I have always been a big community service person.” she said. “I feel like they need the leadership here in the council.”
Her vision, according to her website, is to focus on community service projects that enhance and protect the quality of life for all residents, host town hall meetings for residents on important issues within the city and secure funds for municipal parks and recreational areas.
The other competitive race, Seat 4, features Vincent Medel and Victor Vazquez-Hernandez.
Medel has lived in Miami Springs for 28 years and is the president of Miami Springs Republican Club.
“I think I can do a better job than these guys,” he said. “I call this city the jewel of Miami and I want to keep it that way.”
He said he thinks he is more of a do-er and wants to see more of an active night life in the city. His ideas are inspired from the city of Doral.
Vasquez-Hernandez is a professor of history at Miami-Dade College and said he has always believed in community volunteer work. He said that he was shocked to see that the entire city council ran unopposed two years ago.
“I thought, ‘Hey, that’s weird,’” he said, “I’ve never lived somewhere where the whole city had no opposition.”
On his website, he lists his goals as to reduce crime, increase revenue, enhance the downtown area and increase communication with residents.
“I believe if you’re going to represent people,” he said, “then you have to listen.”
After winning the special election last fall, Walter Fajet is running for re-election unopposed for Seat 3.
Fajet has been a resident for over 45 years and is the principal at the Academy for International Education Charter school in Miami Springs.
He said his current priorities are on getting seniors signed up for COVID-19 vaccinations and reducing crime in the city.
And Mitchell, who has lived in Miami Springs since 1985, has been civically involved since 1989 when she started the Miami Springs Bike Path Project.
“That was the first time that I had really been involved and it took 10 years,” she said, “but it was totally worth it because it’s become an ingrained part of the community.”
Mitchell, who has been on the council since 2017, said her goal as mayor is for the city to become an environmentally and economically sustainable community.
Councilman Bob Best is running for reelection for Seat 1 unopposed. Best, who did not return an interview request, has been a resident since 1983 and a councilman since 2005.