Building bridges in the community

All great metropolitan areas throughout history have relied on their roadways to sustain a vibrant and strong economy. Miami-Dade County is no exception, and our roadways and public transportation are among my top priorities for our residents and visitors. That is why I had the pleasure to participate, alongside Village of Key Biscayne Mayor-elect Mayra Pena Lindsay, in the ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly completed Bear Cut and West Bridges on Saturday, October 25. The construction project on the Rickenbacker Causeway consisted of the rehabilitation of the Bear Cut and West Bridges, as well as improvements to bicycle and pedestrian safety along the Rickenbacker Causeway. It began in the summer of 2013 and was completed this summer at an approximate cost of $35 million. The Rickenbacker Causeway is a major, scenic roadway that connects Miami mainland to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, two prime urban and natural areas that generate millions of dollars for our local economy.

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On Wednesday, I was invited to speak to a class of seniors from Coral Gables High as part of Ethical Governance Day 2014. The goal was to raise awareness of our youth's responsibility to be active and attentive participants in government. Our young residents are the future leaders of our community and it is our responsibility to provide them with the tools and knowledge to hold government accountable. During this discussion, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County, I had the privilege of sharing my thoughts on ethics, public service and the right to vote. To sum it up, I believe that being ethical is doing the right thing when no one is watching; that the essence of public service is putting service to others above self; and that voting is a duty not to be taken lightly because millions have sacrificed so that we can freely exercise that right. Whether in the role of public servant, parent or neighbor, let’s welcome teachable moments like these to model responsible behaviors.

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The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) has always been a major voice in telling the story of Miami to the rest of the world. I joined the GMCVB for their annual meeting this past Monday to thank them for their leadership in making Greater Miami one of the hottest tourism markets in the world. In addition to all the wonderful work done by the Bureau, I was glad to recognize a very important new initiative to promote multi-cultural tourism that celebrates the heritage of our African-American and Hispanic communities. This effort ensures that our success in tourism touches all parts of the County, and that our full story continues to be told.

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