Ruano, Fernandez win Miami Lakes town council seats

Featured By David L. Snelling, Reporter Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Miami Lakes Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano won reelection Tuesday and will continue to represent Seat 3 for the next four years.

“Miami Lakes is and always will be my priority,” Ruano, 44, said on Twitter Tuesday night. “I will continue to serve you with the same level of commitment and integrity.”

A new face will join her and represent Seat 1 on the dais: Tony Fernandez, 35, owner of an internet technology services firm and former chair of the Miami Lakes Youth Activities Task Force.

Those victories split endorsements by Mayor Manny Cid, who backed Fernandez as well as Ruano’s opponent, Ray Garcia.

Cid had appointed Ruano to the council in 2017.

Ruano said Cid’s endorsement for her opponent was because she has criticized Cid’s leadership.

But Garcia and Ruano were friendly and respectful toward each other during their campaigns, even posting a photo of themselves sharing an umbrella while at the early voting polls at the Mary Collins Community Center.

Ruano had a serious challenge from political newcomer Garcia, 48, who lost by just 168 votes.

Ruano won 7,914 votes and 50.54% of ballots cast; 7,746 voters chose Garcia, a health insurance manager and former volunteer on the Miami Lakes Neighborhood Improvement Committee.

Garcia was gracious about the result.

"I ran a great campaign and she ran a great campaign," Garcia said. "We both were fighting for votes and she deserves to win."

Garcia said he wants to continue serving the community and hopes the mayor reappoints him to his former committee.

"Just because I lost an election doesn't mean I don't want to serve my community again," Garcia said. "I want to continue serving in any capacity and continue working with the town council."

Garcia didn’t rule out a future run for political office.

Fernandez defeated Nayib Hassan, 43, a criminal defense attorney who received 47.47% of the votes, or 7,574, to 8,382 votes cast for Fernandez, who took 52.53%.

It was the second political disappointment for Hassan, who once chaired the town’s Veterans Committee.

He was defeated in 2016 by Councilman Luis Collazo.

The results are unofficial until certified by the Miami-Dade County canvassing board.

Fernandez said Tuesday night, “I can't wait to get started."

Fernandez was celebrating his victory with his family and supporters at his home. He said Cid's endorsement helped him win, and that they see eye-to-eye on the same issues: repairing sidewalks and streetlights and improving stormwater drainage after heavy rains.

"The issues are consistent with what the residents feel," he said. 

Fernandez and Hassan sought the seat formerly held by Vice Mayor Nelson Rodriguez, who was term-limited and a failed candidate last August in the GOP primary for state representative.

Hassan did not receive endorsements from current members of the town council but local business owners backed him as did former Vice Mayor Frank Mingo and former Councilmember Ceasar Mestre, Jr.

Fernandez was endorsed by Nelson Rodriguez and Councilmembers Jeffrey Rodriguez; Joshua Dieguez and Carlos Alvarez.

Dieguez and Nelson Rodriguez also endorsed Ruano, but her biggest backer was former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas, who is also a town resident.

Penelas's political action committee, Bold Vision, contributed $2,000 to Ruano's campaign. She raised $40,190 this year; Garcia’s contributions totaled $23,567.

On Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. in town hall, four officeholders -- Ruano, Fernandez, Cid and Collazo -- will be sworn in.
Cid and Collazo were unopposed in their primary races and won without having to face voters.

During the town council meeting the next night, Nov. 17, the council will choose the next vice mayor from among their colleagues on the dais.


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