When Josh Liebman was very young he volunteered at the South Miami based Youth Museum in the former Bakery Center at the behest of his parents. He considers this civic work at an early age part of the formative experiences that launched his community involvement. Liebman has declared his candidacy for Brian Beasley’s city commission seat.Beasley will not run for reelection.
“I have always been involved in the community but never had any aspirations to run for office, until now. I am a neighborhood guy with real world experience. I decided to get involved myself to try and make an impact,” said Liebman.
Although Liebman makes a living as a realtor he is also an entrepreneur and inventor who has traveled the globe running marathons.
“My first marathon was a life-changing experience. I was asked to train with a friend and it was for a good cause. It was a great combination of community involvement and athleticism.”
Today Liebman serves as the coordinator for Team Footworks’ half marathon training pro-gram. It is the second largest in the county with over 800 participants. He has been head coach for “Team and Training” (an arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that trains athletes to prepare for cancer fundraising races) for 10 seasons of eight month duration each.
“I have coached over 10,000 novice runners to help them stay engaged in the sport. It is a way to impact others in a positive way.We raise money for a good cause and as a ‘Pace Leader’ I run slowly with the beginners, holding a sign while coaching them through the race to help maintain their pace and motivation.”
Mega-marathoner Liebman believes that running can change lives. So much so that he has begun a “Running ForYou” initiative seeking private funding for a track in the community redevelopment agency area (CRA) to encourage residents and especially youth to run to stay fit and focused. He is also working on a “Vote SoMi” project to increase voter turn-out on election day by partnering with area businesses who will offer special incentives to voters who show their “IVoted” sticker when they stop by their business.
“It is a nonpartisan grassroots effort to get residents out to vote and also engage local businesses. Voters can visit participating merchants to receive complimentary gifts like running socks, a slice of pizza, frozen yogurt and so forth just for voting. It is something I plan to do every two years,” said Liebman.
This University of Florida graduate with a master’s in business administration rattles off ideas as if he were reading a shopping list for groceries. In addition to a community running track and voter participation incentives, Liebman would like to see residents who take the time to speak during citizen comment at meetings publicly thanked for their time and immediate direction offered on how their concerns may be addressed.
Liebman also wants the entire city website revamped for clarity and easier access to important documents. Improved signage within city limits to help guide residents and visitors alike is another aim. He would also like to see strides made to encourage qualified candidates to run for office as well as efforts to improve representation to reflect the entire make up of South Miami. Increasing cultural events like Art Night is another goal with possible events like theatre in the park or frequent concerts at local churches.
“Community is about bringing people together and the greatest sense of community in South Florida is right here in South Miami. There is a certain dynamic here that makes our city the most neighborly. But when practically the entire sitting commission lives just a few blocks from each other how is that representative government? I am passionate about my hometown and I am not in this campaign to be passive but to make a difference in my community.”
To contact Josh Liebman call 305-338-8583 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.