‘Up to the task’: AFSCME Florida endorses James Reyes for Miami-Dade Sheriff

James Reyes headshot
‘We need a leader with a demonstrated commitment to the hardworking men and women working in public safety.’

Miami-Dade Chief of Public Safety James Reyes’ campaign for Sheriff now carries an endorsement from a union representing thousands of government workers across the state.

Florida’s chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) endorsed Reyes, citing his “proven track record of not just supporting and collaborating with labor, but his unwavering advocacy for his staff and workers.”

“Miami-Dade County’s new Sheriff’s Office will employ and oversee a large number of AFSCME members. That’s why this election is crucial for us,” AFSCME Local 199 President Se’Adoreia “CeeCee” Brown said in a statement.

“We need a leader with a demonstrated commitment to the hardworking men and women working in public safety who provide vital services to our community, and we know Chief Reyes is up to the task.”

The AFSCME nod Wednesday follows a launch last week of bilingual TV and digital ads promoting Reyes’ candidacy to be Miami-Dade’s first elected Sheriff since the 1960s.

Others endorsing his campaign include his current boss, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, and his former boss, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, for whom Reyes served as Executive Director before accepting a job with Levine Cava’s administration in late 2022.

As Chief of Public Safety, Reyes oversees the county Police, Fire and Corrections Departments. He launched his campaign for Sheriff in January, more than 23 years into his law enforcement career.

“Receiving this endorsement from AFSCME is truly an honor and reflects my longstanding commitment to the dignity and rights of all the men and women working around the clock to keep us safe,” Reyes said in a statement.

“As a public servant, I know that our staff is our most valuable resource — and as our next Sheriff, I will continue to fight for our workers through good faith negotiations with collective bargaining units, because it all comes back to the safety of our residents and families.”

Reyes faces three fellow Democrats in an Aug. 20 Primary race, the winner of which will take on one of 13 Republicans seeking the Sheriff post in the Nov. 5 General Election.

He led all candidates last quarter in fundraising, stacking $378,000 between his campaign account and political committee. On the Republican side, Florida State Trooper Joe Sanchez, a former Miami City Commissioner, collected $212,500.

Miami-Dade hasn’t had an elected Sheriff since 1966, when voters there eliminated the position after a grand jury report revealed rampant corruption within the Department. Instead, the county Mayor serves as the de facto Sheriff and has since had an appointed Police Director or Chief of Public Safety who reports to them.

In 2018, 58% of Miami-Dade voters joined a statewide supermajority in approving a constitutional amendment requiring all 67 counties in Florida to have an elected Sheriff, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser and Clerk of Courts by early 2025.

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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