Former Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Ben Sorensen is running to win back the seat he vacated last year for a shot at Congress.
Standing in his way is the man who secured a razor-thin victory last year to succeed him and two others vying for the City Commission’s District 4 seat.
Sorensen, a former teacher currently serving as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, said he’s again seeking city office to address community issues, from public safety to flooding and responsible planning.
“As a father, there is nothing more important to me than creating a safe, inclusive, healthy, and prosperous community filled with opportunity, not just for my own kids, but for all residents,” he said in a statement. “There is no local issue, big or small, that we can’t solve together.”
He filed for the race and announced his candidacy Monday.
I'm excited to announce that I'm running for Fort Lauderdale City Commission, District 4!
I'm deeply committed to making our community safer, more inclusive, and prosperous for all residents. Join me in this journey to create a brighter future.
Together, we can make a… pic.twitter.com/npw9IjUX3W
— Ben Sorensen (@BenSorensen) October 16, 2023
Sorensen won election in 2018 in District 4, which spans the Fort Lauderdale’s southmost area between Southwest 34th Street and West Broward Boulevard, including downtown and Rio Vista.
Shortly after winning, his campaign said, he relocated his office to a homeless encampment downtown to raise awareness, assist residents and successfully advocate for solutions. That included the establishment of a first-of-its-kind community court program in South Florida designed to handle low-level misdemeanors and municipal ordinance violations to help address homelessness in the city.
He also supported ending gun sales in Holiday Park, helped to pass an ordinance to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, and passed a measure guaranteeing a $15 minimum wage for all city employees.
He’s a third-generation pastor and a third-generation member of the U.S. Armed Force. He also holds a law degree, a master’s degree in strategic intelligence and a doctor of ministry.
Through his military service, he’s received a Joint Service Commendation Medal, navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Award and National Defense Service Medal.
In civilian life, he is a founding member of the Mission United Broward County, an effort of the United Way of Broward County to support military service members, veterans and their families with the help of local businesses and nonprofits. He’s also an honorary member of the Mission United Advisory Council, a volunteer chaplain at Broward Health, board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters Broward and History Fort Lauderdale, and a volunteer with Best Buddies International.
“Growing up,” he said, “I was instilled with the belief that community service is a fundamental duty. As City Commissioner, I’ll fight to create a local government where every voice is heard, and every person is valued.”
Sorensen left the City Commission last year to run for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. He placed second behind former state lawmaker and Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz, who went on to win in the General Election.
Three other candidates are running in District 4. All ran in a Special Election for the seat last year.
The first is sitting Commissioner Warren Sturman, a cardiologist who won by just 49 votes to finish the remainder of the four-year term Sorensen secured in 2020.
Also running are Ted Inserra, a retired chef who pulled the least votes in the District 4 race last year, and real estate broker Jacquelyn “Jackie” Scott, who placed third in the contest behind software executive Kevin Cochrane.
Cochrane has not filed for the race, which culminates Nov. 5, 2024.