Health care union backs ‘dedicated advocate’ David Richardson for Miami-Dade Tax Collector

David Richardson - DR
Miami-Dade voters this year are choosing a county Tax Collector for the first time since 1957.

A union representing more than 6,200 local health care workers is throwing its support behind former state lawmaker and Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson’s bid to be Miami-Dade’s next Tax Collector.

Richardson’s campaign announced an endorsement from SEIU Local 1991, the exclusive bargaining representation for nurses, physicians and other health care professionals at county-run Jackson Health System.

“David Richardson is a dedicated advocate for Jackson Health System who knows how vital our services and workers are to Miami-Dade residents,” SEIU Local 1991 President Vicki Gonzalez said in a statement.

“We are proud to endorse him and have full confidence that he will bring the same level of commitment and integrity to the role of Miami-Dade Tax Collector.”

The union’s nod joins another from AFSCME Local 199, which represents many other public servants in Miami-Dade. Richardson said he is “deeply honored” to now have the backing of SEIU Local 1991.

“I am so grateful to have earned the trust and support of our hard-working health care workers,” he said, “and I remain committed to ensuring that the Tax Collector’s office serves all residents of Miami-Dade County with responsiveness and integrity.”

Long self-monikered as Miami-Dade’s preeminent “budget guy,” Richardson is an accountant in private life with decades of experience in the public and private sectors. He began his more than 30-year career as an auditor for the U.S. Department of Defense. In 1993, he opened his own small business focused on forensic auditing of government contracts and has continued as a CPA since.

He made history in 2012 as one of the first openly gay candidates elected to the Legislature.

He vowed, if elected Tax Collector next year, to bring a “fresh approach” to the office, which he said “needs revamping to deliver top-notch customer service” to the county’s more than 2.7 million residents.

“Through mobile office hours,” he said, “we will expand our reach to every corner of the county, and we will deploy enhanced technology to streamline services.”

Miami-Dade hasn’t had an elected Tax Collector since 1957, when voters there adopted a Home Rule Charter abolishing a few constitutional offices — including Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections — and conferring their powers to the county manager, who appointed people to those posts.

The authority has fallen to the county Mayor, now Daniella Levine Cava, since 2007, when Miami-Dade voters approved a “strong Mayor” system.

That changes next year, when a constitutional amendment, which a supermajority of Florida voters and 58% of Miami-Dade voters approved, goes into effect. The amendment requires all Sheriffs, Tax Collectors, Property Appraisers, Clerks of Court and Supervisors of Election to be elected before 2025.

For now, Richardson has a clear route to the Nov. 5 General Election as the only Democrat running for Tax Collector in Miami-Dade.

Two Republicans are also running in an Aug. 20 Primary: software entrepreneur Dariel Fernandez and Bryan Calvo, who resigned from the Hialeah Council late last week to run for Tax Collector.

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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