Mayor Manuel A. Diaz (I - Miami, FL)

Local Arts Leadership
2007

Mayor Diaz has launched an expansive effort to “green” the city, erasing decades of environmental neglect. His efforts have earned him recognition by Vanity Fair Magazine as one of North America’s leading environmentally conscious mayors.

The mayor also joined the National Drug Czar to launch the City of Miami Drug Strategy Plan, treading new ground in coordinating the work of all interrelated agencies to address the multi-dimensional issues related to substance abuse with a coordinated effort to reduce the scourge of drugs in the city.

Private investment has poured into Miami, increasing to well over $30 billion dollars worth of development projects at various stages in the planning and construction process, bringing with it a changed Miami skyline along with thousands of new jobs. As a result, Miami has become a national leader in job creation, with unemployment cut by more than half since 2001, from above 12 percent when Mayor Diaz took office to four percent or full employment.

The city has also increased its production of affordable housing by leveraging public/private investments toward 3,500 affordable units since 2001 at a combined public and private investment surpassing $600 million with a billion dollar investment pledged by 2010. 

Mayor Diaz has contributed greatly towards improving Miami’s public schools through mentoring programs, funding and sponsorship initiatives, and a progressive Education Compact with Miami-Dade Public Schools that will ensure that current and future generations of Miamians have access to quality public education.

Mayor Diaz has been recognized with the 2006 Government Award by Hispanic Magazine, the 2004 Urban Innovator of the Year by the Manhattan Institute, 2004 Business Leader of the Year Award by SouthFloridaCEO Magazine, and was named an “Outstanding American by Choice” by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.

He serves on the advisory board for the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Civic Innovation, the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Urban Research, the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, and was chosen as a judge for the Rudy Bruner Award for excellence in urban design.

Born on November 5, 1954, in Havana, Cuba, Diaz immigrated to the United States with his mother, Elisa, in 1961. Growing up in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Diaz attended Belen Jesuit Prep School, Miami-Dade College, Florida International University, and the University of Miami’s School of Law.

Diaz is a partner in the law firm of Diaz & O’Naghten, L.L.P. He is married to Robin Smith and has four children; Manny, Natalie, Bobby, and Elisa. He also has three grandsons; Colin, Gavin and Manny.