Daniella Levine Cava
CSSW connection: Daniella Levine Cava received her JD from Columbia Law School in 1981 and her MSW from the Columbia School of Social Work in 1983.
Path to political involvement: Daniella Levine Cava made headlines in the general election of November 2020 when she became the first-ever woman mayor of Miami-Dade, Florida’s most populous county, thereby becoming the second-most powerful elected official in that state after the governor. She enters the Mayor’s office following a nearly 40-year career as an advocate for South Florida families in public service and elected leadership. Since 2014 until now, she served as a Miami-Dade County commissioner for District 8. When the Miami Herald endorsed her mayoral candidacy, they cited her “solid foundation,” saying she “has used her experience as an attorney, an accomplished social-service leader and, now, an elected official to earn the chance to lead the county.”
UPDATE: Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has become the face of the response to the catastrophe of the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida. “Each of these victims is somebody’s mother, brother, sister, best friend,” she said at one of her daily press conferences.
From an interview on NowThis:
This is the time when a woman’s touch, compassion, collaboration are so very important…Everyone is focused on this pandemic, on the health issues and on the economic crisis as well, but we have to use this as an opportunity to build back in a more equitable way. We have to make sure that we’re not leaving communities behind that have historically been left behind. That’s on us. So we have to rebuild right.
In an email to CSSW Communications, Levine Cava said:
Spending the majority of my professional life in social work fundamentally shaped my approach to public service and guides me as Mayor. Social work taught me that we need inside and outside strategies to make change, and that social workers can be the key to helping people speak truth to power. It provided me with a unique perspective on the real human consequences of government decisions, and made me a kinder, more compassionate leader. As the Mayor of a large county, my roots in social work keep me grounded and remind me every day that decisions coming from my office can help make the difference for those in our community trying to get a job, own a home, or send their children to college. That’s more true than ever as we navigate this pandemic and we endeavor to support families struggling through economic crisis and to build back a more fair, equitable local economy.