Thanks to hard campaigning by Metro-Dade, FL Local 1403 in conjunction with a coalition of Dade County unions, first-time candidate Daniella Levine-Cava was elected to the County Commission with 52 percent of the vote, unseating incumbent Lynda Bell. It is only the third time in Miami-Dade County history that an incumbent was defeated.
In her time on the commission, Bell had a history of working against fire fighters and the rest of labor. Not only did she vote to decrease fire department funding to such low levels that services had to be reduced, but she also voted to lay off police officers
So when Levine-Cava, a community leader and labor supporter, announced her candidacy, she had Metro-Dade fire fighters’ support. “Our members have been working hard to improve our relationship with the County Commission to ensure that we have a seat at the table when public safety decisions are made,” says Local 1403 President Al Cruz. “With Levine-Cava, we know our voices will be heard.”
Cruz and the president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) John Rivera worked together to form a coalition with the other eight Dade County unions to organize joint campaigning efforts. IAFF Political Training Academy graduate and Local 1403 executive board member Omar Blanco organized the fire fighters’ contributions to the campaign.
Active and retired Local 1403 members went door-to-door in four-hour shifts to get Levine-Cava’s message out. Fire fighters also staffed polling stations, sent out mailers and made phone calls.
“With all of the unions working together, we were able to succeed in this election,” says Cruz. “All of us are looking forward to working with her.”
Levine-Cava takes office on November 1.