Small business financial consultant
Advocate for condo law reform and homeowner protections with Reform Florida
This post is part of our voter guide for the Aug. 28 local and primary elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to the key races and decisions being made this election.
District 6 covers a big chunk of west and southwest Miami-Dade, extending south from West 21 Street in Hialeah down to Bird Road and west from Northwest 37th Avenue to just west of the airport. It includes areas like West Miami, Hialeah, Miami Springs, Coral Gables and the City of Miami.
This interview has been lightly edited to meet word count requirements. Vargas’s opponent is Rebeca Sosa.
What would your top 3 priorities be as commissioner?
When I am elected to serve as the District 6 County Commissioner, my top three priorities will be:
Restoring and restructuring the Miami-Dade Transit service.
Promoting county-backed homeownership programs for working people throughout Miami-Dade County.
To fight for higher paying jobs.
What does “good” public transit for Miami-Dade County look like to you?
Good public transit is RELIABLE public transit. Reliable transit is only possible if buses and trains are properly maintained and the system is well managed. Operating a metropolitan system requires professional management directing personnel and resources to achieve optimal results. There is no substitute for good management.
How will you support expanding affordable housing as commissioner?
I know the county has a good homeownership program, but it needs to be promoted and made available to young people everywhere in Miami-Dade County. Expanding access to the secondary mortgage program and changing [county] code to require large-scale developments to include affordable units will be a major priority of mine.
What does a resilient and sustainable city look like to you?
A city that has its workforce living close to workplaces, a city with good infrastructure to recover from weather events, and a city that attracts young families and encourages elders to remain in place.
What lessons did you learn from Hurricane Irma that will influence how you govern if you win?
We must develop a more detailed plan for assisting the elderly and residents who are economically disadvantaged following storm events. A neighborhood-level response effort must be coordinated.
If you had the chance, would you uphold or reverse the county’s decision to abandon its sanctuary city status and cooperate with federal immigration officials?
The Miami-Dade County community has risen to become one of America’s most interesting and dynamic urban areas because of its open embrace of migrants from all over the world. The policy adopted by the county, under pressure from the mayor, to assist and facilitate the federal anti-immigrant policies should be reversed. The current policy is alien to who we are as a people.
Do you believe in systemic racism, aka the idea that racism is baked into some of our existing policies and laws, and if yes, what ideas do you have for addressing that?
The current statewide ballot initiative to restore the rights of felons is a perfect example of systemic racism. Denying felons who have served their time and completed their sentences the right to vote is antiquated racism that dates back to the post-Civil War era in Florida. I am voting to pass the proposed Amendment 4 on the November ballot and suggest your readers do the same.
Should the Urban Development Boundary remain fixed, or do you think there are certain economic and mobility needs that are more important?
The UDB should remain fixed, and not be modified to allow for expressways. Investing in more regional transit express routes would provide relief to the residents in southwest Miami-Dade, not building more lanes for more cars.