|5th Mayor of Miami-Dade County|
October 1, 1996 – November 6, 2004
|Preceded by||Stephen P. Clark|
|Succeeded by||Carlos Alvarez|
December 18, 1961|
St. Thomas University (A.B.)|
University of Miami (J.D.)
Schooling and personal life
Penelas, an American of Cuban descent, attended college at St. Thomas University. In 1985, he received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law, where he graduated cum laude and was inducted into the university's prestigious Iron Arrow Honor Society.
Penelas and his wife, Lilliam, have two sons, William and Christopher and a daughter Alexandra.
Penelas served on the city council of Hialeah, Florida from 1987 to 1990. In 1990, he became the youngest county commissioner in Dade County history. On October 1, 1996, Penelas became the first Executive Mayor of Dade County (which was renamed Miami-Dade County in 1997). Unlike the majority of Cuban American leaders in Florida, Penelas is a member of the Democratic Party.
"America's Sexiest Politician"
In 1999, People Magazine named Penelas as "America's sexiest politician."
Elian Gonzalez controversy
Later, presumably in retaliation for the Clinton administration's handling of the Elian Gonzalez matter, Penelas refused to campaign alongside Al Gore during Gore's 2000 presidential bid, and made no comments during the controversy over Miami-Dade County's ballots in the aftermath of the election.
Critics allege that Penelas' failure to intervene in the Dade County ballot controversy, including failing to provide adequate security at the Dade County Building during the Brooks Brothers riot, was a contributing factor to George W. Bush's ultimate victory in the controversial election.
U.S. Senate candidacy
As a candidate in the United States Senate election in Florida, 2004, Penelas was unable to match the popularity or fundraising levels of rivals Betty Castor and Peter Deutsch in the August 2004 primary. His campaign was made more difficult when Al Gore called him "the single most treacherous and dishonest person I dealt with during the [2000 presidential election] campaign anywhere in America." Gore's remarks hurt Penelas with Democratic voters. He lost the primary, winning a mere ten percent of the vote.
- Iron Arrow Honor Society at Notable Names Database.
- Sokol, Brett (May 26, 2005). "The D Word". Miami New Times.
- "Alex Penelas Contronts a Tough Critic: His Own Party", St. Petersburg Times, August 31, 2003.
- "Alex Penelas, former Miami-Dade Mayor, to Provide Political Commentary and Analysis for Univision", Univision statement, December 17, 2004.
- Alex Penelas quotes at Thinkexist.com.
- "Al Politics Is Loco", The American Spectator, June 8, 2004.
- Alex Penelas at University of Miami Famous Alumni.
Position abolished 1993-1996
| Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Florida