Miami-Dade mayoral candidate Alex Penelas announced another seven endorsements from Black pastors Thursday.
Penelas earned support from 22 Black pastors in mid-July. On Thursday, Penelas announced new endorsements with fewer than two weeks remaining until the Aug. 18 contest.
Among the new South Miami-Dade County pastors backing Penelas’ bid are Pastor Kay Dawson of Cathedral of Praise, the Rev. Dr. Alphonso Jackson Sr. of Second Baptist Church and the Rev. Anthony Reed of Martin Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church.
“Our country and our community are at a crossroads,” Dawson said Thursday.
“The current unrest around racial injustice is an issue that has permeated in our communities for far too long. We need both faith and government leaders, to take charge and address the social and economic inequities that are impeding our progress. Alex Penelas is someone who leads with compassion and transparency and I believe he is the leader we need now.”
Added Penelas, “I greatly value the support and trust I have received from our South Dade faith community leaders today. I know how much they have been negatively impacted by the lack of investment in their communities and now by the arrival of COVID-19. It is high time that we do what is right for the residents of South Dade.”
Penelas is competing in the mayoral contest against Carlos Antonio De Armas, entrepreneur Monique Nicole Barley, County Commissioners Esteban “Steve” Bovo, Daniella Levine Cava and Xavier Suarez, and real estate agent Ludmilla Domond.
Bovo, Levine Cava and Penelas have all sought support from the Black community. Bovo announced endorsements from a dozen Black pastors on July 22. One week later, Levine Cava earned support from several Black and Haitian leaders.
Reed argued Penelas was the correct choice in the race, which has attracted millions in donations this cycle.
“Our South Dade communities have been in peril due to lack of proper investment from our local leaders,” Reed said.
“Now, in the aftermath of COVID-19, many of our families are facing a long road ahead, economically and health wise. I believe that Alex Penelas is the right person we need at this time and I am proud to support him in his bid to become Miami-Dade County Mayor.”
Penelas previously served as County Mayor from 1996-2004. Reverend Jackson referenced his prior mayoral tenure in his endorsement Thursday.
“For many years, Alex has proven to be a fierce public servant who works for all,” Jackson said.
“He is and has always been committed to fighting and addressing issues that are important to the Black community. Additionally, I believe that his bold vision for economic recovery, public safety, and transit connectivity for South Dade will put us on the right path to prosperity for our residents”
Also backing Penelas are the Rev. Lance Bailey of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Pastor Jonathan R. Howard Jr. of Agape Faith Center, Pastor Kenton Williams of St. James Baptist Church of Coconut Grove and the Rev. Dorothy Zeigler of Resurrection Ministry.
The Miami-Dade County mayoral election will take place alongside Florida’s primary elections Aug. 18. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote — a high likelihood in the seven-person field — a runoff between the top two candidates will be held during the Nov. 3 general election.