MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Danielle Cohen Higgins was appointed and sworn in as Miami-Dade County’s new commissioner for District 8 on Monday, filling the seat vacated by new mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Cohen Higgins, a civil law attorney, was selected by a 10-1 vote in a special meeting. The process took only about 10 minutes as commissioners decided to make the appointment rather than hold a special election for district residents.
Cohen Higgins was considered a frontrunner from the get-go among a list of seven contenders.
“I was optimistic, but very cautious, understanding that in the world of politics, anything can happen at any moment,” she said afterward, adding, “There was no other candidate in District 8 that was more prepared to run an election than I was.”
Cohen Higgins had filed to run for the seat a year and a half ago, anticipating the turnover and a special election. But commissioners decided to make an appointment rather than hold a special election.
“With the pandemic, with the rush, with the economy ... with everything going on, District 8 needed representation faster,” Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz said.
The decision to forgo a special election where District 8 voters could decide was the reason Commissioner René Garcia voted no and Commissioner Joe Martinez abstained.
“I think the citizens deserve an election,” Martinez said. “I think they’ve earned the right to have an election, and so I just abstained.”