MAYOR ON THE MOVE!
NEWSFLASH My Latest Newsletter
Beaches To Receive More Sand
Mayor's Corner: Pension Reform and Convention Center Revamp
ABOUT MEAs the first Hispanic woman elected to the Miami Beach City Commission and long-time community activist, Matti Herrera Bower exemplifies the power of dedication and compassion towards elderly, disabled and low-income citizens, women and children, and all residents of Miami Beach.
First elected in November 1999 as the Miami Beach Commission’s first Hispanic woman, Matti Herrera Bower has established a reputation for being dedicated and passionate about the issues that face Miami Beach.
In eight years on the Commission, Bower brought her tenacity as a longtime community activist to her role as an elected official -- fighting for the elderly, disabled and low-income citizens, women and children, and all residents of Miami Beach.
In 2007, against the conventional wisdom, Matti Herrera Bower became Miami Beach’s first female and first Hispanic Mayor. With the support of her predecessor, family and friends, Bower, a longtime resident, activist and two-term Commissioner, rode a strong, grassroots, all-volunteer, residents-first campaign to a resounding victory.
Her enthusiasm for helping others – with problems big and small – and her independent-minded leadership have endeared her to both the residential and business community she serves.
Mayor Bower began her career as a community activist over thirty years ago as the President of the Feinberg Fisher Elementary School Parent Teachers Association (PTA). Mayor Bower has also served as President of the PTA at Nautilus Jr. High and Miami Beach Senior High Schools. Additionally, she worked on countywide issues as a member of the Miami-Dade County Public School Board’s Attendance Boundary Committee, Committee on Bilingual Education, Miami-Beach Feeder Patterns and the Citizens’ Advisory Board. A major cornerstone of her ongoing efforts is to ensure quality education for all students, making Miami Beach a great place to live and work.
Mayor Bower has worked tirelessly on issues that directly affect people. As a commissioner, she led the Miami Beach fight against the movement to rescind the Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance, which protects the rights of everyone, regardless of an individual’s sexual orientation. In 2009, she convened the first Miami Beach Women’s Conference and created the first city-supported gay pride festival in Miami Beach history.
In years past, she co-founded the Miami Beach Hispanic Community Center and is a former member of the Miami Beach Housing Authority, and the Community Development Advisory Committee. Her efforts as a commissioner to help the Miami Beach Community development Corporation save a historic building for low-income elderly housing led to the rehabilitation of Villa Maria apartments on Collins Avenue. A new building will be built in 2010 next door and is to be named Villa Matti in honor of her key role.
Mayor Bower has long supported the arts. She was a member of the Artist Housing Group and the Friends of the Bass Museum Board of Directors. Committed to historic preservation, Mayor Bower has chaired the Art Deco Weekend festival, and is a past member of the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) Board of Directors. In addition, she worked tirelessly with MDPL founder, Barbara Baer Capitman, to help register the Art Deco District on the National Register for Historic Places.
She contributed to the City’s current economic boom through her ongoing commitment to economic development. Prior to holding office, Mayor Bower chaired Miami Beach Development Corporation, the community-based economic development corporation that has led the revitalization programs in the Art Deco District, South Pointe, Lincoln Road, Washington Avenue, Collins Avenues and Ocean Drive. She also sat on the Lincoln Road Task Force and the Board for the Lincoln Road Partnerships.
As Mayor, Bower has made economic development, tourism and transparent, efficient government hallmarks of her term – through the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Tourism, the Gay Business Development Committee, her chairing of the Capital Improvements Program Oversight Committee and her push to renovate the Miami Beach Convention Center.Mayor Bower is the recipient of numerous awards including the Miami Beach Development Corporation Founding Chairman’s award, City of Miami Beach Community Heroes award, Miami- Dade Park and Recreation Department’s In the Company of Women Pioneer award, MDPL Chairman’s Award, Boys and Girls Club Award, the National Housing award, the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Women of Leadership award and Women Worth Knowing award from the Miami Beach Commission on the Status of Women – and many more.
Born in Cuba, Mayor Bower is a retired dental assistant who has resided in Miami Beach for more than 30 years. Mayor Bower has four daughters: Manon Hernandez, Lisa Roman, Laura Reubenstine, Lisa Jo Bower and six grandchildren Katie, Natalie, Tommy, James, Ann, and Lee who reside in North Carolina, West Palm Beach and Miami Beach.