Madam Mayor Daniella Levine Cava State of the County Address (SOC) Transcript

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Commissioner McGhee:

Good evening. First of all, let me just say welcome to District 9, where everything is fine.

Secondly, let me just say to our First Responders to our law enforcement community and our brothers and sisters who keep us safe each and every day of this year and years and past and future. We say thank you and let’s give them a round of applause. Let’s also give a round of applause to the greatest family on earth. That is the Miami-Dade County employee family. Let’s give them a round of applause. I would also like at this moment to give a round of applause to the greatest team, my district nine team, who forever without hesitation has committed to ensuring that this great part of the county is represented with dignity and pride. Let’s give them a round of applause. Now, for those of you who felt that I left you out. I didn’t.

So I’m going to ask each and every one of you to look at your neighbor and say neighbor, you look really good this evening. Now tell the same neighbor that he or she smells really great this evening. Now this is the one I believe is going to get the most attention. But it’s not my fault.

Tell the same neighbor that the Miami Dolphins will win their Super Bowl. Just not this year.

Madam Mayor, to the great people of Miami-Dade County and to all who have gathered here this great evening on these Angelic Stars. To listen to the great state of the county. A state of the county that is built upon four pillars that have forever held this great County together. And those four pillars are simple. The first pillar we speak of is one of faith. The second pillar that we speak of is one of family. The third pillar we speak of is one flag. But I do believe in Miami-Dade County. That is the fourth pillar, that this state of the county truly rests upon and that is the future. I am here to say to you this great evening that the future of Miami-Dade County, it’s in the greatest hands when we speak of our mayor Danielle Levine Cava. And like everything else in life, requires partnership into dependency and that’s where the greatest members of the Miami-Dade County Commission comes in. Let’s give them a round of applause. Commissioner Garcia, Steinberg, Higgins, Cohen Higgins, Bermudas, Regalado, Gilbert, Hardemon, Rodriguez, Cabrera, Bastian and Gonzalez. But my remarks are very simple this evening.

those four pillars, what each and every last one of our commissioners day in and day out?

fight to ensure that the one word that binds us together will forever remain true.

And that one word is called Pride. That’s the one word. That is an inherent birthright.

It is something that cannot be taken away. But if we are not careful, in understanding and appreciating the leadership that we follow. We will be destined to find ourselves as part of the silent majority. We must understand that this is the moment where leadership truly matters. A moment that says that if we understand the true meaning of Pride that dignity

that dignity will be our aim. It is dignity that is found within pride and it is dignity that the farmers, that the custodian workers, that our county workers, that the homeless, that those who are underrepresented. it is the dignity that they seek to be seen and recognized in this great County.

The beauty of it is this. Our mayor has already shown day in and day out through her works, her effort. That whether you are black, white, hispanic, asian, gay, straight, rich, poor, nonprofit, for-profit that you would have a fair Shake here in the greatest county in America.

I close my remarks, the same way I opened. I’m happy. I’m encouraged to see opportunity

but more than anything I see you. that dignity that I speak about, it’s not some distant word that’s found in the dictionary. It’s not some distance word that we speak of in the abstract.

It is a word that represents each and every last one of us as human beings.

It is a word that we must stand on, a word that we must hold up, a word that we must defend but more than anything a word that means so much. So in the famous words of our founders.

At this auspicious moment, this occasion,  remember what I found is brought to the table when all was against them and many questioned the ability for them to achieve the greatest goal of all

those three words. We the People. We will defend dignity. We will defend Pride. But more than anything we would defend those who cannot defend themselves and that’s what we stand for. Welcome to District 9 State of the County Address and look forward to seeing each and every last one of you. Thank you.

Chairman Gilbert:

Good evening, everyone, first let me thank commissioner McGee. I’m just gonna thank you for welcoming all of us down to District 9. You’ll give them a round of applause. Specifically thank you for allowing us to drive one hour and 15 minutes, during rush hour from Miami Beach if you’re Micky and Miami Gardens, if you’re me. We do so appreciate being down here.

Vice chair. Tell them we appreciate him. Yeah, we appreciate this. We do so this is a lovely place for us to have the State of The County address. Their names have been called.

But I serve as the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners by election of the folks and district one but by selection of my peers. And I take that honor as a unique distinction. Their names are called. I’m going to call their names a little more slowly. Vice-Chairman Anthony Rodriguez, please stand Anthony. Commissioner Marlene Bastian, Commissioner Keone McGee, Commissioner Keon Hardiman, Commissioner Mickey Steinberg, Commissioner Cohen Higgins. She got more Applause because she’s wearing leopard at the zoo. Commissioner Kevin Cabrera, Commissioner Robert Gonzalez, Commissioner, Juan Carlos Bermudez

and while I don’t see them here Commissioners Raquel Regalado and Commissioners up Commissioner, Commissioner Raquel Regalado and Commissioner Renee Garcia

 and last but certainly not least. Another commissioner from this out. Sometimes I’m confused whether I’m in District 8 or 9 because they’re so intertwined with commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins. Um, it’s important to call their names because while they said it, it’s District Commissioners. We said it’s to collect the body that legislates on behalf of the 2.7 million people of Miami-Dade County. That’s important because we take the job series. We take the job seriously because the mayor is going to come up here in a little bit and tell you that the state of this county is strong. State of this county is strong. but the county isn’t the mayor’s office on the 29th floor. The county is in our hundreds of thousands of businesses. The county isn’t the extraordinary employees that work here. It’s not the administrators that work here. It’s not the County Commissioners. It’s all of us. Look the state of Miami-Dade County is strong not because

 we’re unchalled. It’s because we’re Unbroken the state of the county is strong but not because

There are dark nights, but because we always understand and embrace the sunrise, the state of the county is strong because we’re composed of folks who came from everywhere in the world.

They came from everywhere in the world with the idea that we could manifest the American dream greater than anyone else at any other time and that’s what we’re doing. That is what this mayor is doing, that is what this commission is doing and that is what this community is doing. So give you all yourselves around the Applause. Oh. When the rabbi was giving her a prayer. She talked about the mayor a little bit. And so as I was sitting back there when I was with the mayor and we were talking it occurred to me that she goes to every part of the county. She speaks to every person. She treats them all the same. She treats them all the same.

She offers compassion in every instance. In the words of Rick Ross, which she actually did quote. She said every day. I’m hustling hustling but she said that she’s a brand new grandma and she’s talking about Rick Ross everyday. I’m hustling but that’s because she understands who we are. We’re not just one thing here in Miami-Dade County. We’re not just Christian or Jewish Or Hispanic or black or Haitian or Muslim or no? We’re everything in Miami-Dade County. And she is our extraordinary mayor. Welcome to her state of the county address. Thank you. Thank you chairman Gilbert commissioner McGee and all the Fantastic speakers singers poets and leaders who have joined me on stage this evening. And now is my great pleasure to introduce our very own Miami-Dade County. Mayor Danielle Levine Carver. First elected as a county commissioner in 2014 before becoming mayor in 2020 male Levine Carver has made our residents her number one priority. She has taken both steps to invest in our small businesses and work to create Economic Opportunity for all residents. Increased public safety, protects the environment and our clean water works to create more housing people can afford.

She is committed to making the local government more accountable and responsible to those who serve. Time and time again. She has shown up for us. It is my honor to welcome Miami Dade. Mayor Danielle Levy Carver for her 2024 state of the county address. 

Madam Mayor Daniella Levine Cava:

Good evening, Miami Dade and welcome to beautiful Zoo Miami. I want to thank chairman Gilbert for that beautiful introduction leader of our Board of County Commissioners. He’s a great partner. Commissioner McGee for hosting us here in his home, District 9 and thank you to tonight’s performers. The little ones, the older ones, our honor guard.

 Are Faith leaders our poet laureate?  Richard Blanco our wonderful MC Zoo director Elgar our gracious host at the zoo and their Animal Ambassadors.

 Most of all, thank you to our residents for joining me here tonight and virtually. Thank you for your engagement, your trust and the honor to serve as your first woman mayor.

 This is my fourth state of the county address. And this one is extra special because we’re in South Dade where I got my start in elected office as commissioner for District 8.

Over the last three years as your mayor. We have seen that Miami-Dade has grown and it has changed. It has emerged stronger despite many challenges now. We are the community of the future. We’re the place that people want to be. To grasp this bright future right in front of us. We must be braver and bolder than ever. It will require courage, it will require taking risks. It will require innovation. I have never stuck to the status quo and neither have you the people of Miami-Dade. To embrace the endless possibilities that tomorrow holds we must keep going.

 Embracing this new economy will Propel us into the future as an Opportunity Rich technologically advanced community. Embracing Innovation to tackle our greatest challenges will ensure a thriving tomorrow for all. We’re the most recovered local economy in the country. Last month, we boasted a low unemployment rate of 1.6 percent. Well below the national average of 3.7. We’re one of the safest metropolitan areas in the country and business is booming. But this Prosperity wasn’t always promised. When I took office in late 2020 in the midst of the pandemic our community faced unprecedented difficulty and loss.

 We had a choice to just get by or to courageously lay the groundwork for a brighter future for all.

 We chose courage. A year later businesses reopened, newcomers arrived and a new economic landscape was unfolding. There were gaps to fill from the pandemic and we had to be bolder. We turned Decades of delayed investment and County facilities and services into a once in a generation opportunity to rebuild stronger. We chose opportunity. We laid the foundation and now we must continue to build so that our kids and grandkids can rely on transit to get them where they need to go. So they can enjoy an environment that is just as beautiful as it is protected. So they can grow up in safe communities and so they can get good jobs in the new workforce. And now the future is here and it is calling upon us to innovate. In my early days as mayor. It was hard to see this bright future. It felt like the world had come to a stop and our lives were upended. I came into the office in the midst of the pandemic and I let us through a people focused response that saved lives, jobs and businesses. We ensured testing and shots were available to all, our free testing sites remained open months after Federal funding ended to make sure nobody was left behind. And thanks to our team’s heroic efforts, Miami-Dade achieved the highest vaccination rate in the state. One of our most challenging moments came seven months into my term, the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South and Surfside

 it claimed 98 precious lives. Two and a half years later, we’re more determined than ever to ensure that this can never happen again. We accelerated. Thank you. Yes.

We accelerated building recertification. We required associations to post their budget and safety record and we strengthened our building code thanks to commissioner Garcia.

As we turn the corner I promised I’d put you in the center of County Government.

We launched Thrive 305, the largest public engagement initiative in our history, which included. Oh, no which molded our actions from your priorities included in our budget and strategic plan.

 We recovered from those difficult days, but we did more than this. We chose courage over fear and stagnation. In fact, our pandemic response was so strong that more people and businesses moved to Miami-Dade generating growth that brought both challenges and opportunities.

We laid the groundwork to get more people better jobs, revitalize our small businesses and unleash the power of innovation across the public and private sectors creating greater pathways to opportunity for all. And for two years in a row we cut tax rates to the lowest in 40 years.

 Facing a national trend of growing gun violence. We turned the tide and launched the groundbreaking piece and prosperity plan sponsored by commissioner Hardemon. This 20 year 90 million dollar investment includes a range of crime prevention programs. It soon became very clear that housing was the greatest challenge to our growth. So I declared an affordability crisis in April of 2022. We rolled up our sleeves and started building new units, renovating existing ones and protecting tenants through a new office of housing. Advocacy. Helping more than 26,000 families stay in their homes with dignity. We got here. Yes. We got here today because we were Brave in the face of adversity. We were bold in the face of uncertainty and we were Fearless in laying the foundation for the future. And now the future is here and with it the new economy. The world is watching and investing in us and it is very clear to see why.

 Miami-Dade generates an annual gross domestic product of nearly 185 billion dollars

 in the past year alone 6,000 new jobs were created. Unemployment now stands at the low 1.6% behind the state average of 3%. That’s nearly half. We are the business friendly place to be.

 And we’re being recognized for it. South Florida was recently named by the US Department of Commerce as one of only 31 Tech hubs in the country and the only one focused on climate.

 We’re working together to bring down millions of dollars for businesses and jobs.

 I’m proud to have leaders from our universities who are part of the tech Hub here tonight, um FIU, FMU, MDC and leaders from Saint Thomas and Barry. We’re ready to welcome you to the team. So if you could all please stand representatives of our great colleges and universities.

Please. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Very good. In this new economy our county government will be a leader in upskilling our workforce. So growing companies can find Talent right here and no one is left behind. And that’s why we’re investing in our greatest asset, you.

The new Future Ready scholarships at Miami-Dade College make sure all County residents in need have an opportunity to complete a degree at zero cost. We also invested in a code path which helps students like Sebastian Nunez become job ready. There he is.

Since achieving his computer science degree. He’s tripled his income. That’s incredible. So thank you so much Sebastian for being with us. Thank you within the county’s own Workforce. We’re not just talking the talk. We walk the walk. We worked with our unions to achieve historic protections and we expanded paid internships and apprenticeships in Miami-Dade County and we’re helping our small businesses thrive in the new economy too. To date more than 10,000 have joined strive 305 to better Market grow and innovate.

 And looking ahead we expect to reach 75% of all small businesses in our County by 2025. That’s amazing.

 The new economy demands Innovation. So we searched the Globe last year. We launched the Miami-Dade Innovation Authority and its first public challenge sought creative ideas for the ReUse of seaweed next up. They’re seeking ways to improve the passenger experience at Miami International Airport. Miami-Dade we’re showing the world that this growth is not a moment but a movement to the Business Leaders listening tonight, please hire local partners with our schools to invest in us. It’s an investment in our future. We’re in this for the Long Haul together. We’re building for today and investing in tomorrow to ensure that future. Generations will have an even greater opportunity to thrive. And that is why I am so excited to announce that I will be partnering with commissioner Cohen Higgins on a forward-looking bond package to present to you the voters this November. It will ensure that we are truly Future Ready.

Our Collective efforts alongside local leaders and community members will build on your public trust to gain support for a 2.5 billion dollar accountable and Project Specific Bond initiative.

 It will fund pressing challenges like housing septic to sewer. flooding and parks in every corner of our County. This historic approach will turn around the Follies of the past and build for the future. And that is why our bond initiative will be named 305 Future Ready. The future will be stronger, safer and more resilient than ever before. A driving reason that many people and companies move here is because we are safe. Violent crime has gone down while solving crime has gone up. We’ve introduced groundbreaking policing methods like the crisis response unit, which responds to emergencies with licensed mental health professionals alongside our police out of nearly. Yep. Thank you. Out of nearly 800 calls for service in the first six months alone zero resulted in use of force. Some members are with us here tonight, please if you could stand to be recognized please stand. We also celebrated the return of the police department’s mounted Patrol unit. A great Community Builder. I might say thanks to the generous donation from the Milton Family Foundation and the leadership of Vice chairman Rodriguez. Thank you. Alongside the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida and Jackson Health System. The county will open the trailblazing Miami Center for mental health and Recovery this year thanks to judge Steve leifman’s vision. There he is. Thank you, judge. The center will serve people from our jails, hospitals and streets in a state of the art facility with compassionate and comprehensive care.

 And thanks to the hard work of our Corrections team. We’ve turned that department around to achieve full compliance with the US Department of Justice For the first time in 10 years how a community treats its most vulnerable is a true measure of its compassion. So for example, we’re taking care of our older adults through the save our seniors program this holiday season. We sent low-income homeowners extra funds to help with increased expenses.

 I was touched to receive so many heartfelt messages. Thank you notes one senior wrote about how the check helped. She met essential needs like buying groceries and another shared that it allowed him to make needed home repairs. That is why we do what we do.

 It’s also up to us to ensure that all pets in our shelter are safe and loved. I allocated an additional two million dollars in the latest County budget to get more Furry Friends adopted, spayed and neutered. Thank you commissioner McGee who’s been such a strong advocate.

The future will be even safer and offer more opportunities such as opportunities to be safely housed. The housing crisis still reaches too many which is why we’re strengthening our homes against severe weather offering mortgage utility and condos special assessment relief and preventing evictions were ever possible. Thank you commissioner Bastian for Chair of the Housing Committee for your passionate leadership. And commissioner Cabrera for sponsoring the First Time Home Buyer program which provides below market rates. We’re also building more housing that people can afford, increasing the much-needed supply. For example, we renovated three public housing developments in Little Havana and tripled the supply of affordable and workforce units on site. With 40 million dollars that we received from HUD we’ll revitalize low-income housing in Goulds. We’re supporting nonprofits like Casa Familia to build housing for adults with disabilities. And the homeless trust opened Mia casa, a community for older adults in need of stable housing. We’re on our way. But we’re not done. We will not stop until everyone is safely housed because housing is a human, right?

 The future will have smarter Mobility too. We’re taking bold steps on Long awaited promises in transit. Just two months ago. We launched the better bus Network. Thank you commissioner Higgins, a true Transit champion, the plan delivers more routes more frequently to more people through this community-led redesign. After almost 40 Years of status quo better connects you from point A to point B and to opportunity and none of it would have been possible without the steadfast commitment and literal Drive of our bus operators. Like Lydia Reyes a mother of three who overcame years of struggle through training and the support of a local nonprofit Lotus house, Lydia became a bus operator this summer. Congratulations Lydia. Could you please stand? You’ll want to ride the bus just to say hi, now we’re pretty exceeding our pre-pandemic transit ridership levels and funding the county share of all five priority carders of the smart program the South Dade Transit way connecting Homestead to Dadeland will be complete this year and we’ll boast the only fully electric bus Rapid Transit Fleet in the world.

 We’re working to bring the Northeast Corridor to life linking downtown, Miami and Aventura with neighborhood stops in between. We just received Federal Environmental approval.

 And thanks to the leadership of our Chairman Gilbert. We’re on track to fulfill the long promised North Corridor. Have you heard tri-rail is now downtown and the brightline goes to Orlando.

Through relentless advocacy. My Administration has pulled down more than one billion dollars for federal and state infrastructure. We’re making once in a generation investments in tomorrow, like enhancing bicycle and pedestrian safety, restoring the Everglades and strengthening our world-class ports. Miami International Airport (MIA) is one of the fastest growing airports in the country expecting to reach 77 million passengers by 2040 up from a record-breaking 52 million today. The powerful economic engine has had its challenges, but I’m turning that around. It’s been an unprecedented year for passenger numbers and Capital Improvements from elevators and escalators to walkways and roofs. This record-breaking seven billion dollar investment and 1.7 billion in maintenance is transforming Mia into a future ready destination modernizing our Airport from the cabin to the curb and building a new parking garage and hotel. And Port Miami is also celebrating its busiest Cruise year ever with Federal investment. Thanks to secretary Pete who visited in October. We’re cutting emissions, better managing stormwater and creating the good-paying jobs of the future. By the middle of this year five out of 10 terminals will be plugged into quieter and cleaner power. None of this would have been possible without strong Financial Health. The county always achieves award-winning Bond ratings, which allows us to continue to build better today and tomorrow kudos to our incredible finance budget and audit teams for being great stewards of taxpayer dollars and always finding ways to create efficiencies and cost savings. And finally, the future will be more resilient here in Paradise nestled between the Blue Waters of Biscayne Bay and Everglades River of Grass. We know that building a resilient future in the face of climate change. We’ll take the boldest of actions. We’ve become a leader for the entire Caribbean and the world our chief heat officer. The first in the world was hard at work during the hottest summer on record. We installed AC in public housing, activated cooling sites and delivered heat Health training and it’s essential that we protect beautiful Biscayne Bay, our blue heart, a natural treasure that generates 64 billion dollars of economic impact. Investing in resilience saves US money to FEMA recently upgraded Miami-Dade County to a class three rating in the National flood insurance program. And this comes with a big reward for homeowners and businesses and unincorporated. Miami-Dade will receive a 35% discount on flood insurance. This means more money back in people’s pockets and reduced flood risks. Thanks to our County experts. Thank you commissioner Steinberg for being so proactive in addressing flooding in your district and Beyond. Among our zero waste efforts. We’re planning for a waste sustainability campus and exploring waste reduction and improved recycling. Thank you commissioner Bermudez for your strong partnership. And through connect to protect we’re converting septic to sewer across the county. Thank you commissioner Regalado a huge proponent. Our water and sewer department is overseeing the connection of 11,000 properties and the largest infrastructure project in Florida’s history. yeah, it’s big. And we just launched a third major solar installation on a county building saving money as well as energy and you can maximize your buildings Energy Efficiency through our building efficiency 305 challenge, so please join us. We’re getting closer every day to that goal of 30% tree canopy. 26,000 trees have been planted since I came into office and you can help us plant thousands more through our adopt a tree program. The climate crisis is global, but the solutions we know must be local. We’re delivering on many right here while we are also searching the rest of the world for further Innovation to bring home. We modeled our own Innovation Authority off of Israel’s after my first trade Mission there and I recently went to Japan where we promoted local business and saw cutting-edge Innovation and technology in transportation waste and Emergency Management, and now we’re continuing the conversation laying the groundwork for a direct flight to Tokyo and renewing ties with the port of Yokohama. Across Miami-Dade from the mangroves of the Oleta River to the Farms of Redland from new developments in Doral to the Art Deco district in Miami Beach. We are building a Brave and Bold new future together today. And your input always matters, we heard your calls for greater access to County Services. And that’s why I launched my no wrong door reforms increasing your trust. No wrong door means that no matter who you call and County government. We will help you get what you need and it’s powered by our new engagement and resident services teams who’ve become the hands and the Heart of County Government. Thank you commissioner Gonzalez for partnering to open a no wrong door Center in your District. Together we’re building the culture of Courage needed to travel the road ahead. We’re marching forward into a promising new chapter tackling our challenges head on so that our children and grandchildren like my new grandbaby Layla can enjoy even greater opportunity as we look ahead to Miami-Dade. We must continue to be courageous. We have always shown up for each other and we must do it. Through a pandemic and through the hard times that came with it through tragedy and through Triumph. You were Brave. You showed up. That’s why I am so proud of you. And so in love with this community. People always tell me You’re everywhere. And it’s true. It’s because of the joy, the energy and the ideas that it brings me when I show up for you. It deepens the motivation that I’ve always had to make a difference in people’s lives and our communities’ future.That is what I’ve worked to do my whole life. And as your mayor I will continue working day in and day out to show up for you. We are the place of the future.

We have the courage to see it. And we have done the work to be it. Miami-Dade is booming. So let’s keep going. To the nonprofits, businesses and partners who are in it with us. Thank you.

To our 13 County Commissioners who join me in service of their communities every day. Thank you. To our 34 wonderful cities, many represented here tonight. Thank you. To our County Workforce of nearly 30,000 strong Who deliver excellent public service every day. Thank you.

And to you our residents thank you for trusting me with the honor of a lifetime. It is because of this trust, because of this teamwork and because of your unmistakable courage that I can declare with confidence that the state of our county is strong. May God bless you and may God continue to bless Miami-Dade County.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *