While most of his peers were busy building professional futures, a young AT & T employee, Julio Robaina, was also a student of life in the City of South Miami where he was born and raised.
As a local community activist for Parks and Recreation children’s’ programs, Robaina frequently lobbied city hall, eagerly watch televised City Commission meetings and observe disconnects between local government goals and end results. Such early activism propelled him into a long and accomplished career as a local and statewide public servant, culminating in his candidacy today for the District 7 County Commission seat in the special May 24 countywide election.
A former South Miami Mayor and former State Rep. for District 117, Robaina seeks the seat now vacated by Carlos A. Gimenez who is running for the post vacated by recall of ex-Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez.
District Seven includes representation of the City of South Miami, Coral Gables, Village of Pinecrest, Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove, Brickell, and a portion of East Kendall.
Upon completion of two three-year terms as South Miami Mayor (1996- 2002), Robaina was next elected to the Florida House in 2002, and ran unopposed for re-election for a second term from 2004-2008.
Recalling years working with Robaina in South Miami, ex-Mayor Horace Feliu said “it was a privilege and honor to be on the same commission when he was mayor. The City of South Miami enjoyed a lot of positive leadership and was recognized as an ‘All- America City,’.and was named one of the top ten cities at the time.
Feliu also noted that the vision of South Miami that locals enjoy today such as pedestrian-friendly downtown shops and outdoor dining, was initiated and implemented during Robaina’s years in office.
While serving in Tallahassee, the future design of South Miami continued with a series of charettes or problemsolving meetings he sponsored when citizens contributed to addressing the realities of the day.
However, Robaina said he believes one of his greatest accomplishments at the state capitol was bringing in millions of dollars to the municipalities he represented including South Miami, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Coral Gables, and Miami and Miami- Dade County.
Former South Miami Mayor and Chamber South CEO Mary Scott Russell is “excited” about Rep. Robaina’s candidacy because she’s “confident he will do the right thing; he is not playing games, he calls it as he sees it, and I appreciate his enthusiasm and openness to the public process and continued desire to truly work with the public.”
Currently retired from AT & T after 31 years, Robaina serves on several local boards including the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Film and Entertainment Advisory Board, and Habitat for Humanity, as well as partner in a property management company.