In just a few hours, the polls will close and the much-anticipated elections in Sweetwater will decide who will fill the seats of Mayor and three commissioners.
The day has been filled with tension, as supporters from two mayoral campaigns make their presence known in the loudest manner ever seen in Sweetwater. In one side of supporters, chants and yelling can be heard from a loudspeaker attached to an SUV: Sweetwater resident and activist by the name of Regla Gonzalez shouted for hours in support of Orlando Lopez and against Jose M. Diaz and Deborah Centeno.
In another group, this time of Centeno supporters, people loudly shouted back at the woman in the loudspeaker and verbally attacked the third candidate for Mayor, Douglas Mayorga. Mayorga supporters were visible yet relatively quiet throughout the day as they greeted voters passing by.
We had the chance to speak to all but two candidates this election, and here’s a brief overview of what they shared if they win.
In the race for Mayor of Sweetwater:
- Orlando Lopez, a solid candidate with more than 14 years of experience and involvement as Sweetwater Commissioner now planning major improvements to the police department
- Douglas Mayorga, an entrepreneur and Chamber of Commerce Director with plans deep connections to the business world and plans that include renewable energy and business development initiatives
- Deborah Centeno, a community activist planning to restructure the government, namely introduce term limits for elected officials
In the race for the 3 commission seats:
- Saul Diaz, the youngest candidate with one of the most detailed plans for improving the City of Sweetwater. A candidate willing to answer to voters and use honesty. Mr. Diaz is challenging Manuel Duasso for his seat.
- Manuel Duasso, one of the longest-active elected officials in Miami-Dade County, was elected in the mid-90s and is running with plans to improve the elderly services and advocate for families, without any specific plans other than remove traffic cameras
- Elsa Thompson, running for commissioner after failing to beat Prisca Barreto in 2011, she formerly worked at the City of Sweetwater in the 90s and has since been active in local political circles. She is running against Prisca Barreto for her seat.
- Prisca Barreto, one of the longest-serving commissioners in Sweetwater. The details of her plans if elected are unknown.
- Idania Llanio, an ally of the Jose M. Diaz campaign, she refused to speak with us and provide any plans if elected. She is running against Jose Guerra for his seat.
- Jose Guerra, one of the most fiscally-responsible voters in the commission. Also one of the more involved officials when it comes to city details. His plans include “to bring back Sweetwater to the way it was”, although would not share specific details.
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Must see: 2015 Sweetwater Election Photo Gallery
Video coming soon.