Hispanic Police Officers Association backs Kevin Marino Cabrera for Miami-Dade Commission
Kevin Marino Cabrera dominates the money race.

‘He’s always been a person who’s wanted to help out in any way possible to promote or assist the police department.’

Government relations specialist Kevin Marino Cabrera picked up more organizational support Friday, when the Hispanic Police Officers Association (HPOA) backed his campaign for the Miami-Dade County Commission.

The HPOA, which represents some 1,700 active and honorary members in law enforcement across Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, commended Cabrera for his “strong track record” in supporting police. For that and other reasons, President Carlos Arguelles said, Cabrera earned the group’s endorsement.

“He’s always been a great supporter,” Arguelles told Florida Politics. “He’s always been a person who’s wanted to help out in any way possible to promote or assist the police department.”

Cabrera, whose brother-in-law works in law enforcement, thanked the HPOA for backing him.

“As a member of a law enforcement family, I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the men and women of Miami-Dade’s Hispanic Police Officers Association,” he said in a statement.

“The No. 1 job of local government is the safety and security of our families and community. That is why I will fight against any efforts to defund the police in Miami-Dade County and will make funding police services a priority.”

Founded in 1979 by and for members of what was later renamed the Miami-Dade Police Department, the HPOA has in recent years branched out to include personnel from the municipal police departments of Doral, Medley, Sweetwater and Florida International University in Miami-Dade, as well as Key West officers in Monroe.

The organization also has some retired Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and U.S. Marshals in its ranks, Arguelles said. He added that while the HPOA began and continues to operate as a group representing Hispanic police, there are no demographic limits to its membership.

“We keep the name because that’s our founding fathers, but we have always been very diverse,” he said. “The only thing we want is to be treated equally, just like everyone else, and be on the same level as the local civilian.”

The HPOA is the third organization to back Cabrera, following local chapters of the Service Employees International Union and Associated Builders and Contractors.

Cabrera is a former GOP operative who now works as a senior vice president for global strategy firm Mercury. He has held public office once, serving as an elected Councilman on a Miami-Dade land use zoning board.

He is married to Republican state Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera and lives in Coral Gables.

Since launching his campaign for the District 6 seat on the Miami-Dade Commission in April, he has welcomed endorsements from 11 current and former elected officials. They include former President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, Florida Chief Financial Officer and Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis, Miami state Rep. Daniel Perez, Hialeah Mayor Esteban “Steve” Bovo, Miami City Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Hialeah City Council members Bryan CalvoVivian Casals Muñoz and Luis Rodriguez, Council President Carl Zogby, and Miami-Dade state Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, who is running for another seat on the County Commission.

District 6 covers a central portion of Miami-Dade, including part or all of the cities of Miami Springs, Virginia Gardens and West Miami; parts of Coral Gables, Hialeah and Miami; and some of the county’s unincorporated area. The district also contains Miami International Airport, one of the county’s top two economic engines, and a Miami golf course being redeveloped as a soccer stadium complex for the city’s Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami CF.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who currently represents District 6, must leave office this year due to term limits.

Cabrera faces two fellow Republicans in the technically nonpartisan contest — entrepreneur Dariel Fernandez and Coral Gables City Commissioner Jorge Fors Jr., whom Sosa is backing as her preferred successor — as well as Democratic Miami Springs Councilman Victor Vázquez.

Cabrera and Fors led the fundraising field through May with more than $924,000 amassed between them, with less than $10,000 separating their respective gains. Candidate fundraising figures for June are due Monday.

Miami-Dade law requires a County Commission candidate to receive more than half the votes cast during the Aug. 23 Primary. If no candidate captures that share of the vote, the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes will compete in a runoff Nov. 8.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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