Dieguez wins unopposed; 4 run for 2 council seats

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 0 Comments

Dieguez wins unopposed; 4 run for 2 council seats


 One political neophyte seeking a seat on the Miami Lakes Town Council ran unopposed, while two other novices face off against two candidates who ran for office during the last two elections. 

Attorney Joshua Dieguez automatically won Seat 4 at the end of the town’s qualifying period, as he replaces Vice Mayor Frank Mingo, who vacated his seat to run for state representative.

Newcomer and attorney Jefferey Rodriguez and Xiomora Pazos, a CEO and president of a non-emergency medical transportation company, are seeking Seat 2 on November 6 to replace Tim Daubert, who’s term-limited.

Pazos unsuccessfully ran for Town Council in 2016 and 2014, and she hopes that the third time is a charm.

Newcomer Carlos O. Alvarez and Esther Colon are vying for Seat 6, hoping to supplant Ceasar Mestre, who’s also term-limited.

Colon ran for a Town Council seat in 2016 and finished second in a three-person race, which Councilmember Luis Collazo won. 

Dieguez, who served on the Miami Lakes Charter Revision Commission, raised $29,392 for his campaign, and counts Collazo, Mestre, Mingo, Councilmember Marilyn Ruano and former Councilmember George Lopez among his supporters.

Alvarez, a principal at City of Hialeah Educational Academy, has raised $21,325 and his campaign supporters include Realtor and former Community Council chairman Wayne Rinehart, Waste Management Incorporated in Coconut Creek, Uniform Hialeah Gardens Corporation and Free Markets of Florida in Ft. Myers.

The three corporations each donated $1,000, the maximum amount allowed under the town’s campaign finance law.  

Rodriguez, who raised $14,250, is backed by Dieguez, Ruano and Alvarez, who citied his work as chairman of the Miami Lakes Planning and Zoning Board as the reason they endorsed his candidacy.

Pazos and Colon hadn’t listed any contributors on their campaign finance reports at press time.

According to his campaign statement, Dieguez, 29, said he’s a proud lifelong resident of Miami Lakes. 

“I grew up playing in our parks and lakes and have seen firsthand how our little town has changed in that time,” he said. “I’ve also been involved for many years as a member of the Neighborhood Improvement Committee, Elderly Affairs Committee, Miami Lakes Bar Association, Charter Revision Commission and by just being that guy who speaks his mind during public workshops and council meetings.” 

Dieguez graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Florida International University with honors and graduated from St. Thomas University Law School, where he was a member of a competitive honor society and recognized on the Dean’s List. Currently, he’s an attorney at his family's law firm, Dieguez and Associates in Miami Lakes.

Prompted by his love for Miami Lakes and the desire to ensure that the quality of life of the residents of the town continues to improve, Rodriguez decided to run for Town Council.

According to his campaign statement, Rodriguez, 35, has been a Miami Lakes resident for over eight years. Born and raised in South Florida, Rodriguez grew up in Hialeah and graduated from Hialeah Senior High, where he played baseball and was a senior captain on school’s first ever state championship baseball team. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University, where he continued his baseball career as a four-year starter and senior captain, and was awarded the Collegiate All-American Scholar Award for academic excellence by a student athlete.

After graduating from Nova Southeastern, Rodriguez attended St. Thomas University School of Law. At St. Thomas, Rodriguez received three unique opportunities to experience life in public service. He was selected to serve as a legal intern with United States Department of Justice in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida under Alex Acosta, who was the acting U.S. Attorney for the South District at that time. Rodriguez served as a judicial law clerk for The Honorable Richard J.  Suarez in the Florida Third District Court of Appeal. Finally, during his third year of law school, Rodriguez served as a certified legal intern in the Appellate Division of the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office.

Since receiving his Juris Doctorate from St. Thomas University in 2008, Rodriguez has worked as an associate attorney at the law firm of Adams Gallinar, P.A., where he specializes in all phases of transactional law including, without limitation, residential and commercial real estate, corporate mergers and acquisitions, real estate lending, and other complex commercial transactions.                

In 2014, Rodriguez began his involvement with Miami Lakes public service when he was appointed to serve on the Miami Lakes Economic Development Committee. The following year, Jeffrey was appointed to serve on the Miami Lakes Planning and Zoning Board by then Councilmember Manny Cid. The Planning and Zoning Board is the Town’s local planning agency which takes final action on zoning variance requests and makes recommendations to the Town Council with respect to rezoning, amendments to the Land Development Code, and amendments to the Miami Lakes Comprehensive Plan. In 2016,  Rodriguez was named chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board.

Rodriguez and his wife, Gisela, have two young children, and raising their family in Miami Lakes was the best decision the couple ever made. 

“Having experienced Miami Lakes as a child living in neighboring Hialeah, I viewed Miami Lakes as the quintessential place to raise a family,” he said. “Naturally, when my wife and I decided to purchase the home and raise a family we chose Miami Lakes.”

Alvarez, who has lived in Miami Lakes for 20 years, is an award-winning educator. According to his webpage, Alvarez began his career 17 years ago in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He began as a paraprofessional at Ben Sheppard Annex and assisted with fourth and fifth grade students. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from St. Thomas University and taught at Ben Sheppard Elementary for three years. 

Concurrently, Alvarez earned his Master's degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. In 2003, he transferred to Jose Marti Middle School where he taught half a school year and was then promoted to administrative assistant. At which point, he gained hands on experience in effective leadership skills and administrative duties.

Upon completing Miami-Dade County Public Schools Assistant Principal Preparation Program, he decided to venture into the charter school movement and became an assistant principal at Mater Academy Middle/High Charter School.

In 2008, he was selected to lead a unique charter school that had an emphasis on public service academies in the same community in which he grew up in. Since then he has lead City of Hialeah Educational Academy to four consecutive years of being an "A" school, recipient of Newsweek's and U.S. News and World Report Best High Schools in America and the City of Hialeah's Education, Mentoring and Inspiration (EMI) Award for Best School in 2014-2015.

Alvarez said he’s passionate about continuing to lead City of Hialeah Educational Academy to new heights. He strongly believes that education is a powerful vehicle that leads to personal success and always encourages students to reach their highest potential. He is devoted to his students' well-being and academic growth while preparing them to compete in a global market.

Pazos, 61, has been living in Miami Lakes for over a decade. She said she was vice president of the Serenity Point Homeowners Association and a longtime community activist.

She also volunteers her time to help out senior citizens in Miami Lakes.

Colon, 64, is a retired government administrator and college professor. She has lived in Miami Lakes for 25 years. She earned her Master’s degree in Management from St. Thomas University as well as a graduate certificate in public management and Human Resource management.

Colon said she finished her 32-year career in municipal and county government with operational and supervisory responsibilities in the areas of accounting, finance, budget, procurement, grants, risk management, Human Resources, debt management and administration.

She’s a member of the Zonta Club of Miami Lakes and volunteered at the Miami Lakes Women’s Health Heart Initiative, Lotus House, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Brown Mackie College Alumni Community and Lions Heart service activities.

According to her campaign statement, Colon said living in Miami Lakes is neighborly, being able to walk or ride bikes to the parks, movies, concerts, restaurants, church and shop all within “our” community.



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