Victorious Miami-Dade mayor-elect volunteers at food distribution events in Miami, Miami Beach

MIAMI – After a historic victory as the first woman to be elected to serve as Miami-Dade County mayor, Daniella Levine Cava met with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in Wynwood and Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber on Wednesday at local food distribution events.

The coronavirus recession has turned the drive-thru events into a regular occurrence in South Florida. Levine Cava said the meetings are part of her effort to work in cooperation with the county’s 30 mayors to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

“We cannot deny the virus and so I will have a chief medical officer to guide us in our actions,” Levine Cava said.

The Miami-Dade County mayor is a nonpartisan position. The New Yorker who moved to Miami in the 1980s is a Democrat in a political environment that has been dominated by Cuban-American Republicans for decades.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava gestures as she speaks before handing out Mom & Pop Small Business Grants, Aug. 12, 2020, at the South Miami-Dade Government Center in Cutler Bay, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Charles Zelden, a Nova Southeastern University political science professor, said the nonpartisan nature of the job might have been an advantage on Election Day since Levine Cava’s party was not disclosed on the ballot. He said her focus on local issues paid dividends.

“We are going through these terribly difficult times, and it doesn’t necessarily require a woman, but I do bring compassion, collaboration, a spirit of true listening,” Levine Cava said.

The Miami-Dade County commissioner will be sworn into office in two weeks to lead the state’s most populous county with a $9 million budget. Carlos Gimenez, her future predecessor, will step into his new role as a Congressman starting in January.

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.