Standing up to Special Interests takes courage
As a practicing Attorney for the Guardian ad Litem program, Cindy fought for critical educational and mental health services for the abused children she represented. She was horrified by the failures of the juvenile court system and motivated to make a difference at the legislative level. She ran for office and was elected to serve in the Florida legislature. While serving, Cindy’s advocacy moved beyond child advocacy and extended into environmental issues where she took on powerful special interests and entrenched Florida state government officials that threatened our drinking water. She defeated their efforts to allow untreated stormwater to be injected into our aquifer. She also fought against the powerful citrus lobby to protect our local fruit trees from elimination. Her bold leadership and courage made an impact for our community.
Pictured in order:
State Rep. Cindy Lerner swearing in ceremony
First day of the Florida Legislative session
State Rep. Cindy Lerner at a press conference to inform fellow legislators and the public about the environmental risk of injecting contaminated water in the aquifer
Mayor of Pinecrest
Mayor Lerner created a Climate Action Plan to address the threats from sea level rise, flooding, and extreme weather. She also transformed Pinecrest Gardens into a beautiful botanical garden and a popular cultural arts facility for the entire county which attracts significant cultural arts grants. As Mayor, Cindy created 2 programs to support generations from youth to seniors. The Youth Advisory Council is designed to provide leadership and civic engagement opportunities for selected local high school students. One of the first graduates of the program was recently honored with the Miami-Dade Rookie Teacher of The Year Award. The Pinecrest Pioneers celebrate local seniors over age 80 with a twice yearly luncheon.
She also created the Education Advisory Council which is designed to facilitate communication between the Village of Pinecrest and the 5 public schools within Pinecrest. Programs like the Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place For Hate” were identified and implemented in all Pinecrest schools.
Pictured in order:
“No Place for Hate” banner presentation to Pinecrest schools
Youth Advisory Council Earth Day Festival 2015
7th annual Southeast Climate Impact meeting with County Commissioners Daniella Levine-Cava & Jean Monestime.
Half Penny Tax in Pinecrest
In 2008, the former Pinecrest Village Manager had collected 5 years worth of county transit dollars from the half-penny sales tax with no intention of using it towards transit solutions. Just prior to Cindy’s election, Miami-Dade county was going to reclaim the $500,000 collected for non-usage. During her first term, Pinecrest designed and implemented the People Mover to alleviate traffic congestion plaguing Pinecrest. The People Mover continues to grow in popularity as an alternative transportation source. We need solutions like these at the county level.
Complex problems can be solved when we work together
President of Miami-Dade League of Cities
Cindy organized local city leaders to address the real threat from sea level rise, flooding and the increasingly extreme weather patterns in Miami-Dade County. In recognition of her work on the issue of sea level rise and other threats from climate change, in 2016 Cindy was invited to present at the 2nd United States – China Climate Leaders’ Summit in Beijing. For the past several years, Cindy has worked closely with State Legislators on addressing critical issues we face at both local and state levels like sea level rise.
Climate Action March with Florida State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez
Effective change requires collaboration
When women’s health care services were threatened, Cindy built and led a coalition of community advocates, concerned women, and doctors to defeat the merger of hospitals that would have denied women access to important health care services. When funding for our public libraries was threatened, Cindy lent her strong voice to the coalition fighting to protect and restore that funding. As Vice Chair of the 21st Century Schools Bond Advisory Committee, Cindy worked with other community leaders and professionals to assure the financial investments made in renovating our public schools were fiscally sound and met the needs of each school community.
Pictured (in order):
Mayor Lerner with former US Senator Bob Graham
Mayor Lerner with US State Senator Bill Nelson
Our children deserve our protection
Mother, Attorney, Child Advocate
Cindy & Dr. Irv Lerner, DVM have been life-long residents of Miami-Dade County. Cindy graduated from Palmetto Senior High and Irv graduated from Coral Gables Senior High. They own a veterinary clinic in Kendall. Cindy & Irv have three adult children and three grandchildren. While raising their children, Cindy worked as lead attorney for the Florida Guardian Ad Litem program representing the best interests of thousands of abused and neglected children. For sixteen years, Cindy trained and supervised hundreds of volunteer attorneys helping our most vulnerable children—those in the foster care system. She now serves on the Board of Pace Center for Girls helping at-risk high school girls overcome their challenges and change their lives.
Cindy with her 3 grandchildren