‘Exceptional leadership’: 3 local leaders endorse James Reyes for Miami-Dade Sheriff

James Reyes headshot
‘His long track record of prioritizing the safety of the people speaks for itself.’

Miami-Dade Public Safety Chief James Reyes just added three more people to the list of those supporting his bid for Sheriff.

Miami Gardens Council member Reggie Leon, Miami Springs Council member Victor Vazquez and former Rep. Elaine Bloom are all officially backing Reyes, according to his campaign.

“James Reyes is absolutely the right person for the job,” Leon said in a statement.

“Chief Reyes has the leadership experience to bring people together, collaborate with partners, and keep communities safe all over Miami-Dade. His long track record of prioritizing the safety of the people speaks for itself and makes Chief Reyes the right choice for our community.”

Vazquez, a U.S. Air Force veteran and retired Miami Dade College professor, said in a statement that the county “will continue to be a safe and thriving community for all” under Reyes.

“I am proud to endorse Chief James Reyes for Miami-Dade County Sheriff because of his exceptional leadership and deep commitment to protecting all of our residents,” he said. “His extensive public service and proven track record in law enforcement make him the best candidate to lead our county through this important transition and work with our Miami Springs police to maintain public safety.”

Bloom, who has lived in Miami-Dade since 1962 and dedicated 13 years as a state lawmaker, called it “an honor” to endorse Reyes.

“I know the residents of Miami Beach and northeast Miami-Dade understand the need for robust public safety and law enforcement leadership that responds to the needs of our community,” she said in a prepared statement.

“Chief James Reyes has spent his entire 25-year career in law enforcement putting public safety first, demonstrating his understanding that a true leader is someone who can work with others and represent all of the communities under his purview.”

The nods from Leon, Vazquez and Bloom join others from Reps. Kevin Chambliss and Marie Woodson, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, and several municipal officials.

He also carries an endorsement from AFSCME Florida.

“I am proud to be endorsed by these dedicated public servants who have put the needs of our residents first,” he said in a statement.

A 23-year law enforcement veteran, Reyes spent more than two decades with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, including four years as its Executive Director under Tony.

He left last year to lead the Miami-Dade Corrections Department. Levine Cava later promoted him to Public Safety Officer, a post in which he oversees the county’s Corrections, Police and Fire Rescue Departments.

Reyes leads a field of 17 candidates in fundraising for the Miami-Dade Sheriff job. He’s one of four Democrats seeking the job.

Thirteen Republicans are running as well, including Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Sanchez, the largest GOP fundraiser so far; Assistant Miami-Dade Police Director Rosie Cordero-Stutz, who carries a rare county-level endorsement from Donald Trump; and retired Miami-Dade Police Major Mario Knapp, who placed third in first-quarter fundraising among Republicans.

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.

The Primary Election is on Aug. 20, followed by the General Election on Nov. 5.

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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