Meet our DMO of the Month:
Mayor Cindy Lerner is taking the lead in Florida
This Month, DMO honors one of our own. Our new DMO Florida State Chair is taking her state by storm. Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest Florida is well on the way to establishing a DMO Chapter for her state and is working to ensure that Democratic Municipal Officials in Florida will play a strong role in re-electing President Obama in 2012.
Mayor Lerner is identifying and organizing DMOs in her state, and is bringing them together for action.Mayor Lerner this month organized a reception for Democratic attendees of the Florida League of Cities' Annual Conference.She raised the funds for a nice reception, recuited help in identifying which members were DMOs, and then went to work reaching out. Over 100 Florida DMOs attended the reception sponsored by LSN Partners. The DMOs were eager to get tied in to the work of DMO, and to the Democratic Party.
Obama For America's FloridaState Director Ashley Walker addressed the group, and Mayor Lerner went to work organizing DMO members for future action. As a result of her work, DMO increased our Florida membership, built a strong new network, and established our value in the upcoming election. Who better to help move national priorities and public opinion that the elected officials closest to the electorate.
Mayor Cindy Lerner has set a great model for other DMO State Chairs to follow, and as such, we are please to honor her as our DMO of the Month.
Eager to know more about Mayor Cindy Lerner?
In 1960, Cindy and her family moved to Florida and settled in the area which is now Pinecrest. Cindy attended Palmetto Elementary, Junior and Senior High schools. After graduating from Palmetto Senior High, she went on to get degrees from Newcomb College of Tulane University, and Emory University School of Law in Atlanta. Upon completing graduate school, she and her husband Irv, a local veterinarian returned to Miami to begin a family and their professional careers. In 1990, they moved back to Pinecrest. It was there that they raised their three children, Jill, Robin and David.
Throughout Cindy's professional career, she has taken leadership roles in improving government, its policies and programs. Cindy has had a long and respected legal career as a Child advocate, first as senior attorney for the Guardian Ad Litem program in Miami Dade's Juvenile Court, while also overseeing hundreds of volunteer attorneys and getting very involved in a very personal way.
''The abused and neglected children involved in juvenile court were from very dysfunctional
families who needed services, treatment and skills, but I soon recognized that the very governmental systems that were supposed to be helping children and their families were as dysfunctional as the families themselves," said Lerner.
This is what spurred her to get involved in the political process, and become a system advocate. She led non profit and civic organizations, and organized community initiatives to improve access to healthcare, education and social services. Determining that she would have a greater impact addressing and initiating policy and budget decisions, she brought the name and reputation she had earned as a hard working outspoken advocate to her campaign for the Florida Legislature, and, in the year 2000, she ran for and was elected to serve as State Representative for District 119, which included all of Pinecrest and south to Homestead.
In her years as a legislator, Cindy earned a reputation as an assertive, effective leader. She served as Vice Chair for the Child and Family Security Committee, where she often lead the fight for comprehensive changes that would positively impact children and families. She also served on the Education and Innovation Committee, the Council for Healthy Communities, Agriculture Committee and Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee.
In addition, she encouraged her constituents to learn about and become part of the political process, believing it was critical to have citizen engagement to assure the best outcomes for a variety of important issues. She ran monthly Advisory groups, inviting constituents to her locallegislative office, to discuss healthcare, education, the environment and business and economic development.
Whatever Cindy believed to be in the best interests of her community, she fought for. While a legislator, she led the fight against a bill for Aquifer Storage and Recovery - which proposed injecting untreated storm waters into our Aquifer, and she helped to kill what was a bad bill. The legislative retribution came in the form of a redistricting plan, which wiped Lerner's district off the map.
Cindy returned to her community work in Pinecrest, and began a consulting business,
Grassroots Connections. She worked tirelessly for a wide range of local organizations, including Friends of the Everglades, National Council of Jewish Women, Pace Center for Girls, Community Gardens Charitable Fund, and Temple Beth Am Sisterhood and continued to volunteer with various Juvenile Court projects. She has won numerous Awards and Accolades,including the Florida Chapter of Sierra Club Legislator of the Year Award, Outstanding New Legislator Award from Human Services Coalition, In the Company of Women Pioneer Award from Miami Dade County andWoman of Valor Award from National Council of Jewish Women.
Cindy's trademark and talent is reaching out and helping those who need an effective spokesperson and leader. Whether it's her consulting business, which still takes her to Tallahassee for Children's Campaign, Inc., a statewide non profit organization that advocates for children's issues or her recent fight to help Pinecrest residents keep their well water, Cindy gets the job done. And that's something the residents of Pinecrest will always be able to count on. Cindy Lerner was elected Mayor in 2008.