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Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall Has Become School Board Royalty

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Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke praises a longtime public servant.

With the primary election set for August 26, there's a local politician who doesn't have to worry being voted out office. In June, Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall was one of two Miami-Dade County School Board members automatically re-elected when no one filed to run against them. (Raquel Regalado, daughter of Miami's Mayor, was the other.)

Candidates in the African-American community don't want to waste their time running against Bendross-Mindingall.

She's a winner because she is one of the few black politicians who represent us with integrity and honesty. She served four consecutive terms as a Democratic state representative from Miami before she was elected to the school board in 2010. She has never been caught up in a scandal. The only people who don't like her are lobbyists who can't control her.

In fact, Bendross-Mindingall is an inspiration to black people in Miami. The only politicians following her lead are State Sen. Oscar Braynon, who secured $5 million in taxpayer funds to renovate the gym at Miami Dade College's north campus, and Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon, who found the $6 million to build a youth center at Hadley Park.

She was one of seven siblings who grew up in the Liberty Square Housing Project, also known as "Pork 'n' Beans," during segregation. After graduating from Miami Northwestern Senior High, she went to Tuskegee University in Alabama, where she earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1964. Bendross-Mindingall, who also has a master's degree from Nova University, returned to Miami and became a public schoolteacher, working at several inner-city schools during her career.

When Bendross-Mindingall was principal of Lillie C. Evans Elementary in Liberty City, she always let parents know she hailed from Pork 'n' Beans to show them that their children could succeed in life. She has inspired single mothers to finish their education, get college degrees, and become professionals. When she was in the state legislature, Bendross-Mindingall was instrumental in building an adult learning center in Liberty Square.

Last year she received the Julia Tuttle Award for exemplary community service, adding to her collection of lifetime recognition for helping low-income people improve their education. Miami's black community deserves more candidates like Bendross-Mindingall.

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