Eileen Higgins launches campaign for CD 27

It’s Official: Miami-Dade County Commissioner Eileen Higgins is running to unseat the Republican U.S. Representative. Maria Elvira Salazar in Florida’s 27th congressional district.

Higgins’ camp had more than implied last weekend, she was preparing for a possible race for Congress. On Thursday, the first-term Democratic commissioner cleared up any doubts, announcing that she will file CD 27 in the coming days.

“The incumbent voted against the best interests of the people of District 27, and I’ve had enough,” she said in a statement. “I hear every day how Congress is broken, and residents see how partisan fights and personal agendas are front and center while problem solving and addressing the challenges facing neighborhoods are ignored.”

She added: “I have worked with colleagues, regardless of party affiliation, to get things done for our residents. I’ve worked with mayors from both parties to solve problems big and small, and that’s what I will do in Congress as well.

Higgins entered politics as a disruptor in June 2018, when she defeated the top-funded campaign of Zoraida Barreirothe Cuban-born wife of the former Miami-Dade commissioner Bruno Barreiroto represent the county’s heavily Hispanic District 5.

The race saw CD 27 candidates knock on doors in defense of Higgins, an Ohio-born Democrat whose fluency in Spanish has earned her the nickname “La Gringa”.

During her tenure on the Miami-Dade Commission, she led and supported efforts to build and improve transit services, add affordable housing, strengthen small businesses and redevelop a large area of ​​county-owned land in downtown Miamiamong others.

As current President of Transport, mobility and urban planning committee and a member of several other panels, including the President of the Commission Jose “Pepe” Diazfrom the powerful guidance council, she has forged a reputation as a collaborator and negotiator.

Higgins now plans to champion those priorities in Washington, his campaign said, while working to expand access to affordable health care, improve water and sewer infrastructure in Miami-Dade and to invest in public safety and crime reduction.

Higgins slammed first-term congressman Salazar for voting against the president Joe Bidenit is US rescue plan and Building back better massive public investment program to strengthen the country’s infrastructure and social programs.

“As commissioner of a district where inequality is stark, I have dedicated myself to investing in our students, small business owners and working families,” she said. “That’s why I don’t understand how the incumbent voted against the US bailout to help small businesses and opposed major investments that will make our streets safer and our infrastructure stronger.

“I’m proud to run for Congress to serve the people of Congressional District 27 and stay focused on problem solving, not partisan food fights.”

Higgins has a wide and varied professional experience. She got her start as an engineer after graduating in 1987 from the University of New Mexico. Two years later, she earned an MBA in Operations and Production Management from Cornell University.

At first, she worked in manufacturing plants, with some jobs taking her to Europe and Latin America. She then moved into general business management, marketing and sales for the spirits companies Seagram and Jose Cuervo.

This work led her to serve on the advisory boards of non-profit organizations, which led her to become involved in anti-poverty initiatives. She became director of the Peace Corps in Belize, working on everything from basic sanitation and the fight against HIV and AIDS to economic development.

She described the experience as “transformational” in a 2019 interview with miami today.

From there she went to work for the US State Department, where she worked to improve relations between America, Mexico and South Africa.

She briefly worked as a business consultant in Miami before winning a seat on the Miami-Dade Commission. Unlike most of his fellow Commissioners, Higgins has no day job; she and her family own several OrangeTheory Fitness gyms in New Mexico and Texas.

Higgins’ announcement comes just days after Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell dropped his offer for the US Senate to challenge Salazar this year instead.

Other candidates in the race include Angel Montalvoa “staunchly progressive” Democrat who leads a “100% citizen” campaign; Republican Frank Polo, who showed up to run in late January; and non-party candidate Ian Anthony Medinawho filed for office in July 2021 but has not reported any campaign finance activity since.

Salazar, meanwhile, just had its best fundraising quarter since taking office last year. The former TV reporter raised $690,000 between New Year’s Day and March 31.

florida resignation law demands that Higgins tender his resignation from the Miami-Dade Commission seat in early June. She is expected to step down in early 2023.

In accordance with the county charter, an election for the District 5 seat will be held in August alongside races for the Commission’s peer districts of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12.

CD 27 covers much of Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Miami, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Key Biscayne, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, North Bay Village, South Miami, West Miami, and unincorporated neighborhoods. company of Coral Terrace, Fisher Island, Glenvar Heights, Kendall, Olympia Heights, Richmond Heights, Sunset, The Crossings, Three Lakes, Westchester and Westwood Lakes. Neighborhood analyzesas redesigned by Gov. Ron DeSantis administration, show it is safer than before for Republicans, but remains Florida’s most tightly divided congressional district.

It’s also 74% Hispanic, the highest percentage for the voting-age population anywhere in the state.

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Jack L. Goldstein