Danielle Cohen Higgins has made great strides in the community, and she continues to go further as Miami-Dade County Commissioner of District 8
Danielle Cohen Higgins has always believed and proved that hard work and passion can make the impossible possible. Since she is the first Jamaican-American to hold her position, she understands the significance it holds for her and the people of Miami-Dade.
We were fortunate enough to interview her and learn about her work and her ambitious goals as County Commissioner of District 8.
Read on to learn why Danielle Cohen Higgins is so good at her job as Miami-Dade County Commissioner:
What makes her the best person for the job of County Commissioner?
Danielle Cohen Higgins was born and raised in Miami Dade, then trained as a trial lawyer while living the issues every day makes her the best person for the job. She has served on numerous boards, and is most invested in her community being that she was raised in this county and is currently raising her children here as well.
Through her dedication to making the county a better place to live for everyone, she convinced voters that she was the best person to represent them on the County Commission. Having grown up in the area, Higgins has a first-hand understanding of the problems that plague her neighbors and works to see solutions implemented on a county level. This covers things like the traffic she encounters every morning in Miami-Dade County on the way to drop her children off at school to her personal experience as a small business owner in Miami-Dade County. These things give her a first-hand account of how inflation has impacted startups and small businesses there.
She is also cognizant of the district’s wealth of resources and the lengths to which it has gone and progressed to reach the point where it is now—a beautiful, thriving region. Cohen Higgins emphasizes that these things aren’t mere talking points for her. These are issues that she has seen her whole life and now, tackles on a daily basis. She’s grateful to have the resources, credibility, and authority to do so. Her experience and expertise as a trial lawyer have served to promote constructive change in the neighborhoods of Miami-Dade county not just District 8.
If you have been to a Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners meeting then you know how she fought and is fighting to keep the UDB where it is. She digs deep and does not back down from opposition for the sake of agreement. She wants answers and explanations. Everything from the who, why, what, where, and when of a situation or legislation at hand to how things will officially happen and she holds them accountable to their promises. Her personal and professional experiences continue to make her the best person to serve District 8, and every day since she’s been elected, she proves it with her commitment to betterment.
What are some of the obstacles she overcame to reach this point in her life?
Cohen Higgins acknowledged the demanding nature of public service and the importance of patience, perseverance, and passion. With the rapid spread of information in the age of social media, this is not a profession for the faint-hearted. Being an advocate and voice for the community comes with unique challenges that require a strong drive and skillset to combat, and Cohen Higgins has what it takes. As County Commissioner she has needed to earn the confidence of her colleagues and the community while also doing what is best for the county as a whole, which isn't easy.
Another challenge that she highlighted is that of the many working moms of Miami-Dade County. For Cohen Higgins, family always comes first. However, juggling a career and family together is not always simple. As District 8 Commissioner, this was one of the greatest challenges Cohen Higgins faced since it’s one that hits home. She, too, is raising kids while working as a public servant. She has to take care of her own family and think about the needs of the many families in the community. Finding a way to make life easier for working moms is an issue close to her heart.
This is also why she often encourages young women not to let the challenges of public service deter them from pursuing a career in this field if this is truly what they’re passionate about. The county needs more young people, especially young women, to represent the community.
What are her three proudest achievements as District 8 commissioner since 2020?
Higgins has accomplished a great deal in her previous role as District Commissioner, but there are a select few of which she is most proud. For example, in the December 2020 election, she ran on a platform that hit particularly close to home for District 8's citizens. It involved connecting a road that would alleviate heavy traffic substantially for locals. She is very proud of that accomplishment since she got a lot of support for that campaign.
Another issue she has worked on is affordability, which affects numerous households in Miami-Dade. Despite the city's ongoing shortage of affordable housing, Cohen Higgins has assisted several Miamians in securing rental units. Advocating for this change till the very end was a huge accomplishment in Cohen Higgins’ books.
Moreover, Cohen Higgins has always been a loud and vocal champion for the environment and for protecting the city’s precious natural resources. Although she wasn't able to bring about a massive change in this area, she did manage to bring the county together to work toward the issue. Her efforts united builders, developers, and citizens in their shared responsibility to protect the natural environment. That in itself is an accomplishment, considering how serious and large-scale environmental issues are.
Cohen Higgins has done all this and more, but she has also worked to improve public transportation in Miami-Dade, an area she believes deserves more focus. This is why she wants more people to use trains and increase ridership on the South Dade Trail.
Danielle Cohen Higgins is also pioneering Miami’s very first modular housing project, which offers housing at a fraction of the time and price of conventional housing. The primary target audience for this program is would-be homeowners, giving them a foothold on the American dream and the means to create lasting wealth for themselves and their families.
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