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El Portal Council election pits 3 incumbents against challengers

Three incumbents will face challengers in the Nov. 2 El Portal Council elections. Two of the challengers are running for the first time. And a special election will be held for one seat.

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
Three council seats will be up for grabs in El Portal — including the mayoral seat — with two competitors per race.

In the Nov. 2 election, incumbents Mayor Joyce A. Davis, Vice Mayor Harold E. Mathis Jr. and Linda Marcus all face challengers. Councilwoman Claudia V. Cubillos won Seat 2 after her opponent, former Mayor Anna Ward, dropped out of the race.

Seat 3 will be determined 30 to 90 days after Nov. 2 in a special election. Omarr C. Nickerson ran unopposed for seat 3, but didn’t meet all requirements.

During the qualifying period, candidates had to prove they have resided in the village for at least a year, are registered to vote, have appointed a campaign treasurer and provided 15 signatures of registered voters who vote in the precinct, among other requirements. The qualifying period drew to a close Aug. 20.

For the mayoral race, Davis, 67, who has been on the council since 2006, is facing off against fellow Councilmember Daisy M. Black, who served as village mayor in the late 1990s.

Black, 62, is a part-time substitute teacher and is a 20-year resident. She was elected to the council in 2008. Finances are on Black’s agenda, along with providing programs for senior citizens.

“I plan to focus on financial responsibility and transparency,” she said.

Davis, who was appointed vice mayor in her first term, has lived in the village for 13 years and is a former system analyst supervisor for Eastern Airlines.

If reelected, Davis, a retiree, plans on improving El Portal’s budget outlook.

“We want to continue to work hard to ensure that we have a balanced budget,” she said.

For Council Seat 1, Vice Mayor Mathis, 37, will go up against political novice Marcus Parramore, 22. Mathis has served on the council since 2005. Parramore is a fresh face to politics. He recently graduated from the University of West Florida with a journalism degree. Parramore works in customer service for a local insurance agency.

“I like to do things to help others and the environment and this is an outlet for that,” said Parramore, who has called El Portal home for 15 years.

Mathis, a criminal defense law paralegal, said he will rely on his experience.

“I plan on maintaining the quality of life, code enforcement and fiscal responsibility and transparency,” he said.

Mathis was appointed to the council in 2006, after County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson stepped down as mayor. Since then, Mathis, an 11-year resident, has served on the village’s Administration and Finance committee.

For Seat 4, longtime Councilwoman Marcus, 43, will compete against another political rookie, Sadri Manrique Medina, 32.

Marcus has been on the council since 2004 and is an independent grant writer for nonprofit organizations. She has also chaired the code enforcement committee.

Her opponent, Medina, who was born in Honduras, works as a social worker and moved into El Portal almost two years ago. He credits his family for getting involved with politics.

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