Insiders fear the gov has already hand-picked a successor
A Doral activist has started a petition to get Miami-Dade School Board Member Christi Fraga to resign from her seat now, rather than effective in November, as she runs for mayor of the western-edge municipality.
Florida law requires Fraga to resign to run, but the resignation can be effective when the new term begins. The Florida constitution allows the governor to appoint someone to fill a school board vacancy of up to 28 months. Which means voters in District 5 won’t get to pick their school board member until 2024.
If Fraga resigns before qualifying, then voters can choose her replacement on the same November ballot.
“Parents and teachers deserve the opportunity to vote for representatives in the School Board,” reads the petition on change.org that was started by Radys Nader, a father of two school-aged children. “We should NOT have appointments made by politicians. If Ms. Fraga is seriously concerned about our students and their education, she should defend our right to choose!”
Not gonna happen, she said.
“My job is to represent those who I serve in my community all the way t the last day that I can do that,” Fraga told Ladra. Well, she can do that all the way to 2024, but this opportunity came up.
“I have been very vocal about the decisions made in Doral,” she said. “I am not a huge fan of a lot of things that have been decided.”
Fraga did say that he has made a recommendation to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ people, but she would volunteer who it was.
Las malas lenguas say that replacement is former Miami Springs Councilman Dan Espino, who lost the race against former School Board Member Susie Castillo in 2012 (64-36%). Espino is also a former Doral city attorney when Fraga was on the council. And insiders say that Fraga has timed the resignation effective date so the governor can appoint him.
Why not former Miami Springs Councilwoman Mara Zapata? She got many more votes in 2020 when Fraga beat her just 56-44%. Not only did she get the support of far more voters — 41,369 as opposed to Espino’s 6,924 (it was a primary) — it was also more recent. We don’t know where those 2012 Espino voters live today. Or how they might vote.
Fraga was a council member and vice mayor in Doral from 2012 to 2020 before she ran for school board. Las malas lenguas say that polls showed she couldn’t beat Doral Mayor J.C. Bermudez, so she ran for school board to stay relevant. Bermudez is ending his term two years early to run for county commissioner, to replace Chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz. Fraga is running against two current council members: Pete Cabrera and Claudia Mariaca.
And she’s been spending a lot of time campaigning, according to her Facebook posts, which means she could be shortchanging the school board anyway.
She does have a campaign kickoff on Thursday, June 2, even though she’s already raised more than $100,000, according to her campaign finance reports.
That’s two weeks before the qualifying — and resignation — deadline at noon June 17.