State Sen. Oscar Braynon II will wrap up more than a decade in the Legislature next year.
But that doesn’t mean the Miami Gardens Democrat is done with politics.
Braynon tells FloridaPolitics.com he will file to run for mayor of his hometown, likely as soon as August: “I’m ready to come home,” he said.
The move marks a return to city politics in the place that launched his career. In 2003, Braynon first won election to the Miami Gardens City Council at age 26. Back then, the former Miami-Dade County Commission staffer still lived at his mother’s home.
Now he’s married with two kids. That makes trips to Tallahassee challenging, of course.
But as he nears a limit on legislative terms, he also feels the call of a new leadership role.
“I want to be integral with my community,” he said.
He stresses, however, that his work in the Senate is not done. Returning home to give legislative updates in the most Democratic district in Florida, Braynon this year feels like a bearer of terrible news.
“This year was an uphill battle for the things my district believes in,” he said. “Strong public schools. A woman’s right to choose. Or just sending funds to where they want it to go.
“This session turned out different than if the person my district voted for became governor.”
There’s also pressure Braynon feels as the senior member of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation. And while he is no longer Senate Democratic Leader, as he was in 2017-18, he feels pressure to advance caucus needs.
“The way things went last session, I know I need to be more focused than ever on the things my district wants,” he said. “So I’m not in campaign mode yet.”
Still, he plans to file around August. Once he completes his last Legislative Session this upcoming spring, he will look to win in Miami Gardens.
As far as a candidate profile, Braynon says his service in the House 2008-11 and in the Senate since then will benefit the city.
“What I bring from a Senate perspective for someone who lives there is resources from other government entities,” he said.
As a lawmaker, Braynon worked directly with state agencies and local and federal officials. That gives an understanding of the benefits of government cooperation and the ability and network to make that happen, he said.
But he’s just also a local guy running in the community he’s called home most of his life. That too will be emphasized as he goes door-to-door in the community where he was raised.
“I’ve lived in this district since I was a little boy,” he said. “I have gone to school there. My parents still live there. I’ve always been a very neighborhood-centric elected official.”