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Commissioner Sorenson Announces She Will Not Seek Re-election

Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson announced today that she will not seek re-election to the Board of County Commissioners. “I have been honored and privileged to represent the residents of District 8 for almost 16 years. I’ve worked hard and done my best to serve them and all of Miami-Dade County. Politics is still very much in my blood. I’m looking forward to continuing my work for the good of our community in another way.”

With that, Commissioner Sorenson announced that she will be collaborating with the University of Miami to develop a community initiative on Excellence in Public Service that will foster leadership among people aspiring to run for public office at the state and local levels. This initiative, with the support of the Knight Foundation and the Dade Community Foundation, is also envisioned to become a resource for those already in office as well as civic-minded individuals who want to participate more fully. Commissioner Sorenson will partner with William Green, Dean of Undergraduate Education, who will help develop ways UM students can benefit from the initiative.

“There are so many talented citizens in this community who would be willing to serve in elected office,” said Commissioner Sorenson. ÃƒÆ’ƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…“What they need is a place to learn the mechanics of how government and the legislative process operate, ways to navigate the political environment and how to serve their community with the knowledge, ethics and professionalism to be effective leaders. This initiative will be an interdisciplinary effort and draw upon the expertise and involvement of local community leaders.”

Commissioner Sorenson, who has represented southern Miami-Dade County since 1994, has been an outspoken advocate for her community and all of Miami-Dade County. Commissioner Sorenson’s District encompasses more than 170,000 residents of diverse backgrounds, includes four municipalities and a significant portion of the agricultural lands of the County. Commissioner Sorenson has worked diligently to enhance the quality of life for South Miami-Dade through wise economic and growth management policies, crime prevention initiatives and protection of the region’s environmental resources.

Commissioner Sorenson can claim a number of legislative victories over the years. She championed the inclusion of “sexual orientation” in the County’s anti-discrimination laws and successfully defended these equal treatment provisions against attempts at repeal. She successfully defeated an ill-conceived plan to convert the Homestead Air Reserve Base into a commercial airport that would have had a negative impact on Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. She fought to save the Miami Circle, which is now a public asset and has been awarded the status of National Historic Landmark. Commissioner Sorenson sponsored a special bond for improving County Parks. She has been a staunch advocate for human rights, a champion of regional cooperation, a leader in child welfare issues and a promoter of the arts. She has been a stalwart defender of the County’s Urban Development Boundary and has continued to fight to hold the line against sprawl.

“I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish over the years. With the grass-roots support of the citizens, we’ve fought discrimination, kept our National Parks safe from the threats of development and worked to make Miami-Dade County a sustainable community of lasting value.”

Commissioner Sorenson chairs the Budget, Planning and Sustainability Committee, and she serves on the Housing and Community Development Committee, the Transit, Infrastructure and Roads Committee and the Recreation, Culture and Tourism Committee. She served as Vice Chair of the Board of County Commissioners from 2002 – 04. She serves as Treasurer of the South Florida Regional Planning Council and is past Chair of the Regional Transportation Organization. Commissioner Sorenson has served as a member of the Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force, the Mayor’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force and she currently chairs the Mayor’s Sustainability Task Force. She is on the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Counties. In 2004, she was selected to attend Harvard University’s Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin.

Prior to serving as a County Commissioner, she was the executive director of the California Women Lawyers Bar Association and a legislative aide to Illinois State Senator Dawn Clark Netsch. She also worked as a political consultant. Katy Sorenson has been married since 1978 to Janis Dzelzkalns, M.D. and they have two adult children.