A Kendall mother active in community affairs for over a decade, Millie Herrera has made a major part of her campaign for the District 114 Florida House seat the revival of Florida’s economy, especially by helping small business owners.
Active in state party affairs, she joins a slate of local Democratic candidates seeking to balance the political makeup of the Florida House that currently favors the GOP by a 76-43 seat margin.
Herrera is running against Miami-Dade School Board District 7 member Ana-Rivas Logan (R) for the District 114 seat vacated by Anitere Flores (R). In addition to eastern Kendall areas, the district includes parts of Fontainebleau, Sweetwater, University Park, Westwood Lakes, Westchester, Richmond West and South Miami Heights.
Flores chose not to seek reelection in District 114 to become a candidate for the Florida Senate seat of Alex Villalobos (R) who has to relinquish his District 38 seat due to term limits.
Herrera won her Democratic primary on Aug. 24 with a strong 2,646-969 victory over opponent Robert Blanco and has since gained important endorsements by the Kendall Federation Political Action Committee and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson.
Herrera’s emphasis on immediate action to restore economic health also won support from a diverse range of influential organizations, including Florida Education Association, United Teachers of Dade, Unity Coalition, Service Employes International Union and local groups that vary from Clean Water Action to the South Florida Council of Fire Fighters.
Her major campaign plank to restore vitality to the Florida business economy includes payroll tax exemptions for hiring the unemployed and fee reductions as a starting place to help Florida businesses, both large or small.
“Close to 2 million small businesses employ over 70 percent of our workers,” she said, adding they can be helped “by making state bids and proposals more accessible by creating a pool of pre-qualified small businesses capable of performing portions of projects, if not their entirety.”
Herrera also proposes a “Mom and Pop” state grant program (similar to Miami-Dade Commission funding), developing lending cooperation from local banks, and bringing more training dollars to South Florida to help build a world-class workforce.
“The infrastructure is already in place for us to become a world class technology hub, a gateway for Latin America,” she said. “We are perfectly positioned for export opportunities, and every dollar we can invest returns $57 to our economy. That’s why we need to aggressively recruit high tech and renewable energy industries that will generate high-paying jobs,” she said.
She expects to pay for new programs by seeking to eliminate sales tax exemptions that cater to 180 special interests, enforce collection of taxes on Internet sales, and “close corporate tax loopholes” that favor “wealthy, out-of-state corporations.”
Herrera also supports improving education by fairer apportionment of state funding, creating solutions to reduce property taxes and end unwarranted foreclosure actions, and providing new services for the elderly.
As a small business owner, Herrera founded The Miami Group marketing firm after 18 years in managing information systems for banking, insurance, and energy industries, later applying those disciplines to travel technology and marketing management while earning a BS from Southern Illinois University (1982) and an MBA at FIU in 2001.
In addition to gaining a diverse business background since leaving her native Cuba in 1967, Herrera has pursed equally a passion for community involvement and public policy advocacy for over 15 years.
Her most influential post in recent years came as president of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida from 2000 through 2004 after serving as president of its Miami Chapter in 1997-98, and as deputy director of the Democratic Party from 1995 to 1997.
A volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for seven years, she served on Kendall Community Council 12 from 2003 to 2006, including a term as vice chair in 2005, and was secretary to the board of directors of Union Positive, a non-profit focused on HIV/AIDs prevention for the Hispanic community.
A 2004 Fellow of the National Hispanic Leadership Institute, employed at the Harvard J.F.K. School of Government NHLI Executive Program, she was host and producer of Democracia Al Dia, a weekly talk show on Spanish radio (1550AM).