Leonarda was born and raised in the Dominican Republic to loving parents. Her father, a high-ranking military officer, inspired her to serve by engaging her in seeing the community around her. As a young girl, when she questioned inequality and social disparity her father helped her understand that change and improvement comes from the people and from a government willing to create opportunities. He taught her discipline and hard work, and encouraged her to assert a can-do attitude over self-doubt. Just as inspiring, her mother, encouraged her to strive to give her best (and then some), and to stay true to her beliefs and values.
After completing medical school at Universidad Nacional Eugenio Maria de Hostos and Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña, Leonarda got married. In 1987, she and her husband, Mark, moved to Miami, where they raised two wonderful sons, Dale and Marcos.
Mark, who shares her passion to serve his country, is a US Army veteran, and served as sergeant in the 82nd Airborne infantry. By 1988, while balancing career and family life, Leonarda answered her call to social service by working closely with the local Dominican community. Over time, Leonarda has become a proven leader for all people, with a successful track record holding appointments to the Miami-Dade Hispanic Affairs Advisory Board; Board of Survivors Pathway Organization; Board of the Democratic Women’s Club of Greater Miami; and past President of the Dominican Americans Empowerment Council.
She is inspired by those who are under privileged, and those striving to achieve their American dream. Her commitment to social service has been reinforced by her own life experiences. As a wife, mother, and entrepreneur, she has faced many of the challenges that her fellow community members struggle with daily.
Leonarda is now taking her vision of community economic empowerment and inclusion to another level with her candidacy for Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 8.
The decision to run for County Commissioner was encouraged by those who have worked with her, and know she has a genuine interest in the growth and prosperity of the community. She considers herself a social activist who truly cares to identify opportunities that can impulse local social change and development.
Being a Miami-Dade District 8 resident for almost 30 years, Leonarda understands the issues affecting the community. She is talking to the people and listening to their needs and concerns, and what changes they hope for. Understanding that District 8 is a dynamic and diverse community represented by different ethnicities and backgrounds, it is important to Leonarda to be an inclusive leader that values and embraces their differences.
As the voice of opportunity for the people, she is ready and willing to be an advocate, including: issues related to bringing jobs, economic growth, and the financial resources needed to help small businesses in underserved areas; public transit and infrastructure development; affordable housing taking into consideration the gentrification phenomenon affecting Miami Dade County; and educational and public safety programs. All these issues will be addressed responsibly, paying attention to all environmental concerns.
For Leonarda, it would be a privilege to serve as County Commissioner for District 8. There have been strong leaders in this role who she respects and will honor by building on their work. She wants the residents of District 8 to know they are important, that they belong, that giving up is not an option, that there is hope. If you feel discouraged, if you’ve never voted, if you don’t think anyone cares, Leonarda wants you to know that you can and you will make a difference with your vote! She invites you to join her on this movement of opportunity, a movement to build an empowered a vibrant community that you will be proud to call home!