County Commission Vice Chair Lynda Bell was elected to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners representing District 8 on November 2nd2010. Her Commission District encompasses a significant portion of southeastern Miami-Dade County, including the municipalities of Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay and Homestead, with portions of Kendall and the Redlands.
On November 20th 2012, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners elected Commissioner Bell and Commissioner Rebeca Sosa to serve as Vice Chair and Chairwoman of the County Commission, respectively, for a two year term.
Vice Chair Bell was appointment by Commission Chairwoman, Rebeca Sosa, to serve as Chair of the Commission’s Economic Development & Port Miami Committee which oversees all matters pertaining to the Seaport and focusing itself to supporting job creation and advancing the economic growth of Miami-Dade County. Mrs. Bell has also been named to the prestigious Health & Social Services, as well as to the Land Use & Development Committees of the Commission. Their jurisdictions extend to all matters concerning the health, well-being, and the public housing needs of the residents of the County, as well as all matters relating to the responsible growth and management of Miami-Dade County’s natural resources, respectively.
Immediately after her election to the County Commission in 2010, then-Board Chairman Joe A. Martinez, appointed Commissioner Bell to Chair the Internal Management and Fiscal Responsibility Committee (Budget) responsible for the adequate oversight of all County departments. Additionally, Mrs. Bell was also named to the coveted Public Safety and Healthcare Administration, and Economic Development and Social Services Committees.
Among her many accomplishments during her first two years in office, Commissioner Bell was able to work with her colleagues to make government more transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of her constituents, as well as strive to create the necessary economic environment for small businesses to not just survive but thrive. Commissioner Bell also made it possible for County residents to examine the proposed annual budget via the Internet for the first time in County history.
Mrs. Bell worked with Commissioner Rebeca Sosa to effectively change the County Charter to include term limits for all County Commissioners, as well as place significant limits on the way registered lobbyists conduct business with the County. Mrs. Bell worked closely with Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez on a number of critically important projects and initiatives, including the transferring of some County services back to remote regions of the County, making it easier for residents to access government services, as well as the implementation of a physical, one-stop, information and processing center designed to help entrepreneurs through the process of opening new businesses, and creating much-needed jobs for all County residents.
Commissioner Bell also persuaded the Mayor and his new Administration to restore the necessary funding to save the County’s agriculture industry and its annual $2.7 billion dollars in economic impact to South Florida. Finally, recognizing the need for more affordable housing for our beloved senior residents, Mrs. Bell was successful in securing funding for the construction of a 101-unit, four story LEED Certified Building that will serve the housing needs of her district’s elderly population.
Vice Chair Bell serves as a member of the Florida Association of Counties, the Miami-Dade County League of Cities, and the Public Health Trust's Compensation and Evaluation Committee (PHT). Most recently, Vice Chair Bell was appointed Co-Chairwoman of the Florida Association of Counties, the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Growth, Environmental Planning, and Agriculture Policy Committee, as well as to NACo's Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs Steering Committee. Mrs. Bell also serves on the County’s Value Adjustment Board and has recently been named Chair of the Miami-Dade County Sports Commission.
Vice Chair Bell has the distinction of being the first and only woman Mayor in the City of Homestead's 100-year history. She was elected to this coveted post in November of 2007 for a two-year term. She previously won a four-year term as Councilwoman. Having received the most votes in that election of 2003, she was automatically elected to serve as Vice Mayor from November of 2003 to November of 2005. She served the remainder of her four-year term as Councilwoman until November of 2007.
As Mayor, Vice Chair Bell served as Chair of the City's Management Review Committee, as well as Chair of the Charter Review Committee. She was also the first member from the City of Homestead to sit on the Governing Board of the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). In 2008, then-Mayor Bell was one of five finalists in the entire State of Florida who was considered for the prestigious Councilmember of the Year award, and was the recipient of the renowned Athena Award from the Chamber of Commerce for administrative excellence.
Under her leadership as Mayor, Vice Chair Bell plunged head-on to address the many challenges that only a city brings. She reduced property taxes, reduced spending and the overall size and scope of government by 14%. She negotiated union contracts and ended the practice of change orders and cost overruns to city projects - saving the taxpayers literally millions of dollars.
As Mayor, Mrs. Bell brought single stream recycling to the City. She personally fought for and brought the first public school in over 30 years to Homestead and was honored for her efforts by being given the opportunity of naming the new facility herself – “The Gateway Environmental Learning Center.” As a member of the City Council, Vice Chair Bell worked with City administrators to establish a new senior community center for the City's elderly. And, as Mayor, she oversaw the project's successful completion in 2009.
During her years at City Hall, Vice Chair Bell's ability to forge close personal relationships with local, state and federal officials, including members of our military, proved most beneficial. She secured millions of dollars for Southern Miami-Dade County, allowing for the completion of two new firehouses within city limits. She traveled regularly to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the City and the Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB).
Vice Chair Bell was born in Hollywood, Florida and has resided in the City of Homestead since 1979. She graduated in 1975 from Nova Senior High School in Fort. Lauderdale and graduated with honors from Miami Dade College in 1997 with an Associate in Arts Degree in Communications. She is currently working on a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration.
Vice Chair Bell is a member of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, as well as serving as the State of Florida’s delegate to the National Right to Life Board of Directors.
Vice Chair Bell has been married to Mark Bell for 28 years. They have three adult children and nine grandchildren.