Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief Rebuilding After Hurricane

Recently re-elected to the seat of Mayor in South Florida’s Broward County, Barbara Sharief has expressed her dedication to continuing the work of growing Broward County’s economy by expanding the influence of local businesses. Her plan of action is centered around the newly issued 2016–2020 Commission Strategic Plan, available to view on the county commission’s website. The plan is based on Sharief’s first outline that was issued in 2013.

Known as Broward Means Business, this entirely self-funded action plan details ways to help improve the financial health of her constituents by enacting programs to provide foreclosure assistance and seminars on navigating through the economic slump and resulting unemployment issues.

“Businesses, big and small, are increasingly choosing to locate and expand in Broward County and these are all positive indicators that our local economy is strong and stable.” — Barbara Sharief

This four-year Strategic Plan focuses on several crucial qualities in regards to South Florida’s economy such as sustainable housing, public transportation systems, financial independence, and promoting culture through the arts. All of which promise to help the local community by providing a stable job market, economic opportunities, as well as humane and comfortable accommodations for all of Broward County’s residents.

Providing Relief From Irma

However, this can be difficult to do in the wake of a natural disaster. Despite all of the preparations and prior experience Florida has with hurricanes, nothing can truly prepare an entire population for the raw power a hurricane can unleash. Especially one large enough to cover the entire state at the same time.

In the aftermath of hurricane Irma, Mayor Barbara Sharief has worked tirelessly to organize relief efforts and reassure the public, even going so far as to lift the city-wide curfew less than 48 hours after the storm had passed, garnering a few raised eyebrows from other city mayors.

“Our goal right now is recovery and restoration, and that means that we need to get people back to work, get essential personnel back to work, get relief for the people who worked for the five days through the storm and get the businesses back up and running,” she said. “No curfew right now is necessary.”

Care Force activated to help Hurricane Irma victims.

With 89% of the county left without power after Hurricane Irma’s destruction, it was vital for relief personnel to be able to do their jobs quickly and unhindered. And despite the approximately half of the county’s stoplights being out of commission and a significant amount of foliage debris lining the roadways, many of Broward County’s major centers were up and running that Tuesday. Broward College reported that the majority of their power will still on and that classes could resume in the next few days, while Ft. Lauderdale airport had flights scheduled to come in and out with only minor delays expected.

Mayor Barbara Sharief addressing the county about safety measures for Hurricane Irma.

 

Business in Politics: The Role of the Entrepreneur

Although business and politics are often intertwined, running a business is very different from holding political office. However, there is something to be said about introducing successful entrepreneurs public service. If they are able to keep their drive and vision with them through the election process, entrepreneurs can present new economic opportunities for the local economy.

According to the Harvard Business Journal, “Economic opportunity enables people to manage their assets in wars that generate incomes and options.”

New opportunities can mean a slew of different things to different people. When it comes to lower-income families, new economic opportunities can be a way to work their families out of poverty and when it comes to wealthier individuals it can mean helping the next generation get a start on a successful career or expanding their own.

Either way, it starts a domino effect as stated in the World Finance Journal, “Environments where entrepreneurs can emerge easily are propitious to the creation of firms, to their growth and their success and, with the latter, to the success of the economy as a whole.”

Having politicians who have been through this process and understand the effect local government has on it can be extremely beneficial to the local economy. A great example of this is Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief. Sharief was largely known for her business successes before becoming Broward County’s first female mayor in 2013. Since then she has implemented several programs to stimulate business in her area and has experienced positive results overall.