After a trying first year in office, there was much to reflect on, from the tragedy at Surfside Towers to the mounting housing crisis. In either case, the new mayor has faced each challege head on and hands on.
Her previous community and civic work was helpful in her leadership and direction. For her nonprofit work, Levine Cava has the Most Distinguished Pioneer Award from the National Alliance to Nurture the Aged and the Youth and the Joanne Hayes Democracy and Mentoring Award from the League of Women Voter
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava shared various themes during her first in-person State of the County address. She noted critical ongoing efforts to build tens of thousands of new affordable housing units to green initiatives like the Extreme Heat Action Plan.
Her address included three incoming programs designed to upskill workers, stimulate business ingenuity and loop in residents of less well-to-do areas. She also addressed the county’s 1.5% unemployment rate, diminishing levels of gun violence and encouraging progress on countywide mass transit development after more than a decade of stagnation and misspent tax dollars.
The Mayor noted good news in the travel and tourism industires. Miami International Airport had its busiest year ever. PortMiami welcomed more than 4 million cruise passengers and enjoyed an estimated 3% cargo uptick.
She noted her proposed 1% countywide property tax cut Commissioners approved in July. It marked the first such ad valorem reduction in more than a decade and equated to $25 million in savings for residents.
Miami-Dade is also making “historic investments” on pollution-fighting efforts, septic-to-sewer conversions and myriad other eco-friendly work, she said.
In August, Levine Cava announced the HOMES Plan to invest $85 million into affordable housing initiative, and the recently expanded Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which has distributed more than $110 million in additional funds to some 22,000 families facing eviction.
“The program has been so successful that we expanded eligibility and we continue securing new funds from the federal government — $13 million just two days ago,” she said.
Residents leasing their homes now have a tenants’ bill of rights granting protections against undue charges, short-notice evictions and sharp rent increases. For entrepreneurs with micro and small businesses, the Strive305 incubator offers access to capital, training and a growing online library of free, on-demand courses to help them to upscale and grow their bottom lines.
The new first program, dubbed the Miami-Dade Innovation Authority, will provide grants to local companies working on vital county issues. The funding will help businesses pilot new
technologies and potential solutions for pollution, resiliency, housing to transit and health care, among other things.It is to launch with $9 million — $3 million apiece from the Knight Foundation, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and Miami-Dade itself, pending authorization in March from the County Commission.
“We’re flipping the way government does business by inviting businesses to test and pilot with us,” she said during Wednesday’s address. “We’ll make it faster and easier to innovate in the county and further position Miami-Dade as a world-class destination for high-growth companies.”
The Mayor also unveiled plans for a new construction apprenticeship program through which enrollees will be able to gain on-the-ground training at county-contracted construction sites.
Apprenticeships have proven to be a vital pipeline for talent and small business growth.
She estimated the to-be-named project will roll out “in the coming year” with Miami-Dade Public Schools overseeing work with the county’s “partners in labor.”
Even in today's technologically advanced environment, the digital divide still exitsts for some communities and its citizens. To help low-income neighborhoods “close the digital divide,” Levine Cava said her administration is working to launch a new Broadband and Digital Equity Action Plan. She named the nonprofit Miami Foundation and Miami Connected as partners. “High-speed internet should be as commonplace as water and electricity,” she said.
INCLUSIVENESS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Keeping her campaign promise to stay focused on social justice and inclusiveness, the Mayor noted that “Miami-Dade continues to stand strong in the face of injustice, "Our county is safe for everyone,” she said. “I’m proud to be your first Jewish Mayor. I’m proud to be your first woman Mayor, and together I know we can stem this rising hate by reducing crime and bringing our community to the table.”
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is the first woman and the first person of Jewish descent to serve as mayor of Miami-Dade County. Mayor Levine Cava is an American lawyer, social worker, and politician who has served as the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida since 2020. Previously, she was a Miami-Dade County Commissioner from 2014 until her election as mayor.