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Front Page » Profile » Oliver Gilbert III: Moving from Miami Gardens mayor to county commission

Oliver Gilbert III: Moving from Miami Gardens mayor to county commission

Written by on September 15, 2020
Oliver Gilbert III: Moving from Miami Gardens mayor to county commission

Most of our goals are far more attainable than we believe, according to Oliver Gilbert III. Often, he said, a community’s limitations are self-imposed. And the surest way to succeed in surmounting what obstacles lay ahead? Addressing today’s issues with today’s solutions.

“Whether it’s transit, traffic, the affordability of housing or public safety, we have to figure out how the problems we’re addressing now can be addressed with the tools we have now,” he said. “Sometimes we pretend we only have the tools of the 1920s when we have the innovation, imagination and technology that far surpasses anything they could have comprehended.”

Mr. Gilbert is now in his 12th year of public service, the last eight of which he’s spent as mayor of Miami Gardens. He also is chairman of Miami-Dade County’s powerful Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Governing Board, the first non-county commissioner to be elected by his peers to the role.

In July, St. Thomas University announced that he will head the school’s new Center for Pandemic, Disaster and Quarantine Research. And last month voters confirmed his next elected office, representing District 1 on the Miami-Dade county commission.

Commissioner-elect Gilbert caught the political bug early out of law school in 2000, when then-state representative Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall hired him as a legislative aide. He then worked as deputy of policy for former US attorney general Janet Reno’s gubernatorial campaign.

A couple years later, after working first as a prosecutor and then in private practice, he vied for the mayoralty of the newly incorporated City of Miami Gardens in 2003. He lost.

“I learned it wasn’t enough to have good ideas and to work hard; you have to have a good campaign structure and understand the process of getting elected,” he said. “Just because you have a good message doesn’t mean it’ll be communicated to everyone. You have to find a way to do that.”

He kept active at city hall over the next five years, fine-tuning his political methodology. In 2008, he was appointed to the city council. Four years later, he again ran for mayor. This time, he won. Four years after that, roughly 66% of his voting constituents re-elected him to a final four-year term.

Moving onto the next chapter of his public service career, toward new and broader challenges and prospects, is exciting, he said.

“There’s an opportunity for us to look at problems and issues confronting the community collectively and ask difficult but probing questions like, ‘What do we really want?’ and ‘What will it take to be great?’” he said. “We can answer them today in ways that are different from how they could have been answered 50 or even 10 years ago.”

Mr. Gilbert spoke by phone with reporter Jesse Scheckner.

To read the full article and the rest of the Miami Today issue, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact replica of the printed edition.

8 Responses to Oliver Gilbert III: Moving from Miami Gardens mayor to county commission

  1. JazzJ

    September 16, 2020 at 9:55 am

    I am so glad he won I look at what he has done in Miami Gardens and I know he will do the same for his constituents as County Commissioner. He is a decent guy with humility. Sabrina needs to do like he did run for a local Commissioner seat learn and then run for a bigger seat after learning. Way to go Oliver i know you will do well.

  2. Ashlee

    September 18, 2020 at 6:41 am

    Congratulations on all your endeavors! The Chaney-Dennis Family wishes you will in your new role!

  3. Fannie

    September 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Congratulations, Commissioner elect Oliver Gilbert, I’m sure you’re going to do a outstanding job just as you have done as Mayor of the great City of Miami Gardens.

  4. Sherial williams

    September 18, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you for your service you will be missed God everlasting blessing be with you always keep moving on up

  5. Elizabeth Judd

    September 18, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Congratulations Commissioner Gilbert you have proven that politics is a contact sport and just as exciting. I look forward to witnessing your adventure as District One Commissioner. Live your best political life and don’t go back and forth with them people. (Haters)

  6. vivien

    September 21, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Well im moving in this place miami gardens and believe not is good place always have crash , peoples not respect environmental and crimes al the time is around ,,,,,anyway i hope everything change because my taxes is more high.
    Note:the city i need improvement a lot especially cleaning and learning all peoples city

  7. Gloria Thornton

    September 23, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Congrats you’re doing a great job and wish you the best in yr commission seat

  8. Truth Betold

    October 3, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Can’t call this person a good Mayor when he is unethical and has disgusting personality so bad that I could care less was his political positions are. Ask 50 random individuals who were burdened with working with or for him, you may find you wouldn’t want your mother or children exposed to the tyranny or vanity for both their physical or mental health and well-being.

    I have nothing nice to say and with a clear conscious, I say what should be said. There is not a ‘then say nothing at all’ approach with this post.