Miami-Dade County mayoral candidates go head-to-head in debate

Carlos Gimenez, Raquel Regalado vying for county mayor seat

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - The verbal sparring between Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade County school board member Raquel Regalado was tense Sunday during a debate on Local 10's "This Week in South Florida."

The issue of rape kits was just one of the topics that the pair discussed.

"Let's talk about the rape kits and how behind you are," Regalado said. "Lets talk about the reduction in funding to domestic violence."

"We have not reduced funding," Gimenez said.

"Yes, you have," she said.

"We have not reduced funding to domestic violence," Gimenez said. "You just make stuff up. You come in here and you make stuff up. You think you have all these facts and they're not true."

Regalado is seeking the county's top spot, a position that Gimenez had held since 2011.

"The statistics talk for themselves. Crime continues to go down, has been going down for a number of years, and it continues to go down here in Miami-Dade County," Gimenez said. "I don't micro-manage the (Miami-Dade) Police Department. They organize and reorganize themselves in a way they see fit."

Regalado said she wants to see more police officers and wants to reinstate the specialty unit.

"I think that when he eliminated the gang unit, the robbery unit, the units that were helping across the county with the different municipalities, he did a lot of damage," Regalado said.

Aside from public safety, the two battled over ways to ease traffic congestion in the county, including a long-talked about plan to add more Metrorail lines, which has been in the works for about 15 years.

"We will be building out those six corridors in the next four to 10 years, because it does take that long," Gimenez said.   

"When he was elected, we were supposed to extend Metrorail into Broward (County)," Regalado said.

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