James E. McDonald is running for Pinecrest Village Council District 3. He is currently the Pinecrest Councilmember-Seat 3, an adjunct law professor at St. Thomas, and Principal with McLuskey, McDonald & Hughes, P.A.
Why are you running?:
“I am running for a second term in order to continue good government for Pinecrest and to continue making a positive contribution. I want to keep Pinecrest a great place to raise a family. I like to say I am not running ‘against’ anyone, rather, I am running ‘for’ office. I believe I did a good job my first term.”
Motivation to run for office
“I’ve always been public-service minded. I went to a Jesuit university, which obviously had a strong emphasis on public service. And as a boy, JFK was president, so he inspired me. After graduating law school, I spent the first years of my career in public service, and was in and around the government sector, so serving on the Village Council is a natural extension of my ongoing commitment to public service.
Municipal government is closest to the people and I am honored to make a contribution it’s the Council’s role and responsibility to study the issues, listen to professionals, and gather public input. It’s a process that takes time and consideration. My pledge to the voters is that I will try to do what is right.”
McDonald was elected to Seat 3 in 2012. He is a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Fairfield University. He received his law degree from Catholic University of America. In 2015, he received a certificate from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. McDonald is principal of James E. McDonald, P.A., and is also an adjunct law professor at St. Thomas University. He also is chair of the
Miami-Dade League of Cities’ Transportation Committee and a member of the National League of Cities’ Transportation & Infrastructure Services Committee.
His other public service includes serving as an FBI agent, assistant counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Crime, special counsel to Florida Governor Reubin Askew, Assistant United States Attorney, and senior counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Locally, he has actively participated in numerous community organizations from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Volvo Ocean Race, to name a few.
McDonald’s wife Susan is a dietician for the UM Medical School. They raised four children in Pinecrest; Jennifer, Kristin, Jamie, and James.
Vision of the village:
“Pinecrest is a beautiful place and what people want is to simply enjoy a quiet and safe community. These things will never change because it’s what people want. But because there is nothing we can do about the population increase in South Dade, we will continually deal with the traffic situation, as well as traffic calming. We’ve got a great police department and I look for ways to enhance their ability to do their job.
Also, because we are a perfect community for bicycling and walking, we will continue to make our streets safer for bicyclists.”
Why Pinecrest is unique:
“Pinecrest is a uniquely beautiful and centrally located. Citizens like our trees and quiet serene streets. This is what makes us unique. Our main emphasis as a Council is to maintain the quality of life here. We are also different because we have two Metro stops right across the street – unlike other neighboring communities. We are fortunate in that sense.”
Commonalities among other communities:
“We have a lot in common with Palmetto Bay because they too are primarily a residential community. We also have many things in common with our neighbors Coral Gables and South Miami – traffic being chief among them. We are also hopeful that County leadership will start providing real workable solutions to address our long-term needs in transportation.”
Accessibility & getting the word out:
“In Pinecrest, the most effective way to get your message out is by walking the neighborhoods. I am distributing door hangers, as I did for my last election. After serving for four years, I believe people know me and trust my judgment. I like retail politics. It’s very satisfying. I tell people, if you got a problem, call me. That’s what I’m here for. In fact, sometimes I’ll actually respond to emails with a personal visit. I’ll knock on the door and say, ‘Hey, I’m returning your inquiry in person. Let’s talk!’”
Little known fact:
“One of the most interesting posts during my career was as senior counsel to the House Committee investigating the assassination of President Kennedy. Once I spent a day sitting across a conference table from Marina Oswald, having her take me through the last few days of her husband Lee Harvey Oswald’s life, looking for new clues to the charges against Lee Harvey Oswald. That was like working out of a history book.”
Preferred contact information:
Office Phone: 305-662-6160
By Bill Kress