Katy Sorenson will not seek re-election as County Commissioner By Fran Bohnsack
Katy Sorenson's announcement yesterday that she will not be seeking re-election to the Miami-Dade County Commission in District 8 came as a shock, not because I don't think that 16 years of service is enough, but because Commissioner Sorenson has been the embodiment of a respected public servant that it is so much needed in our county. My fears that her absence from the public weal would create a role model vacuum were quickly assuaged, however, as I learned of her intention to collaborate with the University of Miami to develop a community initiative on Excellence in Public Service. Certainly the UEL has taken steps in this direction, as has a small coalition of activists led by Marty Margulies and others, but obstacles for organizations without significant fiscal resources -- where the work is undertaken by volunteers -- usually mean that the work is piecemeal and the vision never fully realized.
So I am encouraged that Katy Sorenson has decided to use her talents in this way. And I am pleased with the support of the Knight Foundation and the Dade Community Foundation, two venerable institutions of positive influence. As Sorenson describes it, the interdisciplinary effort "will seek to train, advise, and hone the skills of current and potential political leaders in order to foster professionalism, knowledge and ethics among the elected officials who serve this community." I think we can agree that these goals are laudable, and these skills are much needed.
But can Katy really accomplish something along these lines in a community that has so often been intractable? I think she can. When she first ran for office in a crowded field of eight, she was a stand out and she turned the race upside down. My political intuition is telling me that she's just about to shift the paradigm again -- for a greater good that reaches beyond District 8. I say "Congratulations, Katy -- and thank you." Really.
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