Francis X. Suarez is a descendant of immigrants from Cuba and one of the few Republican big city mayors in the United States. “My parents fled an oppressive and murderous regime that had as its sole focus to swallow their freedoms,” Suarez tells Die Weltwoche. “They came to Miami seeking opportunity and to build a prosperous future, and this is a sentiment most feel” today. Under Suarez’ leadership, the metropolis in America's deep South is experiencing a veritable boom. Last year, the 45-year-old GOP star was re-elected with an overwhelming majority.
Weltwoche: How would you describe your city and its citizens?
Francis X. Suarez: Miami is a vibrant, inclusive, and forward-thinking city where we value personal freedom and where the quality of life is high. It is a city that provides access to high-paying jobs for our residents, keeps our streets safe, and offers wide-ranging technological, cultural, and educational opportunities for all.
Weltwoche: Miami is considered a beacon of freedom in an America that has been losing its appeal as the "land of opportunity." What is the secret of your city's success?
Suarez: Our recipe for success is rather simple: keep taxes low, keep people safe, and embrace innovation. In other words, we want Miamians to enjoy the highest levels of quality of life. And by keeping what they earn, feeling safe, and having access to high-paying jobs, our residents can thrive through individual freedom and free enterprise.
Weltwoche: For five straight years, Florida has ranked as the top state in net migration. How have the new arrivals changed the political map of the state?
Suarez: There was the belief that people who were moving from “blue states” to Florida would make our state lean more towards liberal policies. However, we have seen a “red wave” across Florida, which implies that most of the people moving to Florida are either Republican or switching party affiliation to Republican.
Weltwoche: What do you tell your fellow Republicans who are worried that new citizens from Democratic cities and states might add voters for policies that your party is not promoting?
Suarez: What we are seeing now is that people are voting with their feet. They are moving from cities that are being run through a socialist system, bringing higher levels of crime, taxes and regulation. Instead, they are mindfully choosing to set anchors in Miami because our policies are delivering better results for our residents. As we continue to invest in the safety in our city, we are on pace for the lowest homicide rates in a lifetime. As we believe our residents should keep more of what they earn — especially during a recession coupled with stagflation — we have the lowest taxes in recorded history of our city. As we believe that our economy is moving from one driven by the industry to one fueled by innovation, we are delivering high-paying jobs to our residents while building a tech ecosystem that works for everyone.
Weltwoche: In December 2020, you caused a huge stir with a tweet. Delian Asparouhov, a co-founder of Varda Space Industries, had announced: "Ok guys hear me out, what if we move silicon valley to Miami." You tweeted https://twitter.com/FrancisSuarez/status/1335037068108554241
succinctly, "How can I help?"
Suarez: The “How can I help?” tweet is often regarded as the tweet heard around the world, getting more than four million impressions.
Weltwoche: Apparently, you triggered a tech boom in Miami with your tweet.
Suarez: When some public officials in other cities were showing the door to innovators, Miami replied to a query about building a new tech hub in our city with, “How can I help?” Such a gesture, which seems simple by nature, struck a deep core in the world of technology, leading to an exponential increase in companies setting their anchors here. In the past 18 months, $2 trillion assets under management companies have moved to Miami; more than 9,000 jobs have been created, bringing $1 billion in wages to our economy.
Weltwoche: Which companies have settled in your city?
Suarez: Some of the companies that have built offices or moved their headquarters to Miami include: Blackstone; Citadel; Point72; FTX; Blockchain.com; and 80 new-to-market companies have come to Miami. We are also home to several unicorns, including Papa and REEF Technologies.
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