FIU student wins seat in Hallandale Beach

Candidates and supporters gathered at the Flashback Diner in Hallandale Beach to celebrate the election of a woman yet to finish her college degree.

“I feel grateful. I feel hopeful for the future and I see wonderful things to come,” said Florida International University junior Sabrina Javellana, who bested her opponent by more than 300 votes.

Javellana, 21, is a native of Hallandale Beach studying international relations and political science. She defeated Richard Dally, 33, who was appointed to the District 2 city commission seat this year in the aftermath of then-Mayor Joy Cooper’s arrest on federal corruption charges.

Tiffany Puello, 20, said she was overjoyed for her friend.

“I’ve seen her grow and mature into the person she is today,” she said.

Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Dally worked on his first campaign when he was 15. He’s lived in Hallandale Beach for the last five years and is president of Broward Young Democrats.

Dally did not return calls seeking comment.

With all precincts reporting, Dally received 4,027 votes while Javellana got 4,369.

After the polls closed, the diner buzzed with the voices of occupants and clinking silverware waiting for election results.

In earlier news reports, Dally and Javellana say they agree that traffic is a big issue in Hallandale Beach, especially gridlock caused by overdevelopment. Dally says that too many projects are being approved, and developers need to understand how these projects will impact roads.

Javellana has previously said that the FBI investigation that snagged Cooper, as well as development issues and general political upheaval,  drove her to run.

She became interested in politics after watching an 11-hour filibuster against limited abortion by then-Texas state Senator Wendy Davis. She went on to intern for state Senator Eleanor Sobel during college. She’s been endorsed by Hispanic and Democratic organizations.

Javellana said she wants to merge the city’s Fire Department with the Broward Fire-Rescue, after learning the local department is understaffed and has difficulty retaining firefighters.

Both candidates feel employment in the fire department is an issue that needs to be addressed.

In other Hallandale Beach races, Joy Adams defeated Keith London for the mayor at large position, while Mike Butler beat Steven Michael Carol for the Seat 1 commission seat. Adams received 5,909 votes while London got 3,643. Butler got 5,328 votes while Carol received 3,140.