Meet Manny Diaz

Manny Diaz has been a leader in local, state and national politics for over forty years. From his earliest days in politics, Diaz was committed to grassroots organizing to elect Democrats, often in historic races.

Manny is running to be the next Florida Democratic Party chair because he is a proud Democrat who wants to position Florida Democrats to win and is committed to doing the long-term work of investing in and building a strong Florida Democratic Party that reflects the strength and diversity of our party, engages with and organizes voters year-round and mobilizes them to elect Democrats up and down the ticket and in every corner of the state.

Manny got his start in Democratic politics volunteering for the Democratic presidential nominee in 1972, which motivated him to continue grassroots organizing in Miami-Dade County. Trained at an early age by the DNC, Manny learned from the bottom up by honing his skills in voter outreach, registration and engagement, canvassing, phone banking, polling, fundraising, absentee ballots (VBMs), messaging and media outreach. For decades, Manny has used these skills to run and advise campaigns at the local, state and federal levels, including his own.

Manny’s work helped elect some of the first Cuban-American Democrats to county and state offices, and the judiciary and helped build a diverse, strong bench of Democrats to run for local and state office. Manny has a long record of supporting LGBTQ equality, including his time as State Co-Chair of Florida Red Blue Say No on Amendment 2 campaign with Equality Florida in 2008. Throughout the 1990s, he also fought xenophobic policies at the local, state, and national level and advocated for Hispanic and Haitian immigrants in Miami-Dade County. He led the fight for single-member legislative districts and fought against gerrymandering alongside the Urban League, NAACP, and others, which created more seats for Democrats but also helped open the door for more minority and women representation in the Florida Legislature.

Manny was elected Mayor of the City of Miami in 2001, having never before run for elective office. He was reelected to a second term in 2005, and was chosen to lead the United States Conference of Mayors as its president in 2008 where, in response to the Great Recession, he worked with President Obama, Vice-President Biden and leaders Pelosi and Reed to develop and execute the stimulus bill. During the 2008 campaign, President Obama chose him to do speak on Day 3 of the Democratic National Convention, the night Vice President Biden accepted his nomination.

After inheriting a fiscal and quality of life crisis, Manny developed a vision for Miami as an international city that embodies diversity, economic opportunity, effective customer service and a high standard of living. To achieve this goal, he re-engineered Miami government from top to bottom.

During his tenure, Manny was recognized for completely transforming the City of Miami, and for many innovative programs in the areas of urban design, sustainability and green initiatives, education, infrastructure investment, affordable housing, law enforcement, poverty and homelessness, and arts and culture. In recognition of these nationally recognized model programs, Diaz has received almost 100 prestigious awards and recognitions. Throughout his career in public service, he has been a force for justice, equality, and meaningful change.

Manny’s dedication to Democratic causes and electing Democrats has continued over the last two decades as a surrogate, funder and/or strategic advisor to Democratic candidates in Florida. He was an active supporter of Alex Sink, Charlie Crist and Andrew Gillum’s Gubernatorial campaigns, Kendrick Meek, Patrick Murphy and Bill Nelson’s Senatorial campaigns and for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden’s presidential campaigns in Florida. He has also spent his time working on efforts in recent years to: push back against voter disenfranchisement, address our opioid addiction problem; replace the 251 remaining coal plants with clean energy; reduce maternal mortality; increase black enrollment in medical schools and colleges more broadly; and with Mom’s Against Illegal Guns.

Manny serves or has served on various commissions and cultural, educational and volunteer boards including Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Institute of Politics, Bloomberg Philanthropies, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research, City Year U.S.A., League of Conservation Voters, Miami Foundation, Urban Land Institute Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use, Mayors’ Institute on City Design, Perez Art Museum Miami, Town Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, NewDEAL, New Leaders Council, Fair Districts Florida, Florida Red & Blue, Florida After School Network, Sustainable Cities Institute, U.S. Green Building Council- South Florida Chapter; Florida Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and the Florida Steering Committee for The Children’s Movement of Florida. He is a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council/U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Manny and his wife Robin live in Miami and are proud parents and grandparents to four children (Manny, Natalie, Robert and Elisa) and four grandchildren (Colin, Gavin, Manny and Dan).

Watch Manny Diaz’s 2008 DNC speech

Awards & Recognitions

Manny Diaz has received nearly 100 awards and recognitions for his leadership and advocacy for underrepresented communities, including:

US News and World Report and The Center for Public Leadership (Kennedy School of Government)
America’s Best Leaders Award

The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Presidential Citation

American Architectural Foundation
Keystone Award

AIA Miami Chapter
Governmental Leadership Award

University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research
Annual Urban Leadership Award

Manhattan Institute
Urban Innovator of the Year Award

US Citizenship and Immigration Services
Outstanding American by Choice

US Interagency Council for Homelessness
“Home for Every American” award

United States Conference of Mayors
President’s Award- National Mayoral Leadership

United States Conference of Mayors
Public/Private Partnership Award- Award of Excellence

United States Conference of Mayors
City Livability Award

Americans for the Arts
National Award for Local Arts Leadership

Preserve America
2007 Preserve America Community

National Conference for Community and Justice
Distinguished Community Leadership Award

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
Green Visionary

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
Power Leader of the Year

Florida Chapter of American Planning Association
Award of Merit – Parks Master Plan

Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
Mayoral Inner City Economic Leadership Award

Black Business Association
Leadership Award

Small Business Association
Award of Appreciation

Minority Enterprise Development
Minority Business Advocate of the Year

Dade Heritage Trust
Contribution to Historic Preservation

Beacon Council
Green Sustainability Award

Nova Southeastern University
Making a Difference in Hispanic Education

Hispanic Magazine
Government Award

Human Services Coalition
Truth Award

Latinos in Information and Technology Association
Government Award

Dade Cultural Alliance
Elected Official of the Year

Alliance for Digital Equality
Recognition Award

Miami Science Museum
Young Patrons – The Green Mayor

Latino Network
Hispanic Leader Award

The Children’s Trust
Excellence Award – Public Policy

Champion of Equality Award

National Women’s Commission – Recognition Award

Community Coalition for a Living Wage
Achievement Award

Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Mentoring Initiative

Dream in Green
Recognition Award

American Children’s Orchestra for Peace
Children for Peace Award

Alliance for Community Trees
Mayor of Trees

Urban Environment League
Orchid Award

Camillus House
Recognition Award

Environmental Coalition of Miami & the Beaches
Environmental Stewardship Award