While many of his peers were starting their careers or finishing school, Adrian Jimenez decided to run for the District 13 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.
Running with merely $100 and a devoted group of volunteers, Jimenez’s campaign differs from his opponent’s. Former state representative Rene Garcia is running for the same seat. He has amassed over $1.3 million in donations during his 20 years as a senator, collecting over $300,000 in donations during the 2016 election alone.
Jimenez’s push to run a campaign mostly fueled by volunteers stems from the current coronavirus pandemic. He didn’t want his community to cough up funds when many are experiencing unemployment or illness.
“I’m not a politician, just a concerned citizen who believes that it’s time that we take actions ourselves because others won’t do it for us,” said Jimenez.
District 13 covers Hialeah, Miami Lakes and the surrounding unincorporated areas. Former District 13 Commissioner Esteban L. Bovo has held the seat since 2016 and is now running for Miami-Dade County mayor.
Garcia has served in the Florida State Senate since 2000 and before that was a Hialeah councilman.
On June 24, Jimenez and Garcia took part in a virtual town hall hosted by NBC Miami and The Miami Foundation. They discussed issues such as the pandemic, transportation and criminal justice reform.
“This is about getting real changes, and if you strongly believe in something, you have to be the change you want to see,” said Jimenez.
Jimenez wants to improve public transportation and create more transparency for taxpayers, but the issue he feels most strongly about is improving the environment. An avid outdoorsman, he wants to tackle climate change – starting with creating a culture of conservation in the district’s parks.
Evelyn Mila, a Cuban-American and Hialeah resident, is an advocate for environmental issues, especially in regard to communities of color. She said those who oppose Jimenez don’t think about policies’ environmental impact on people of color.
“If I vote for anyone that does not care about the ocean — and who does not care about the earth that we live on — then I’m voting against myself,” Mila said.
Florida’s primary election is set for Aug. 18.