Frank Bolaños: “Family, Civic Activity, Education and Service”
By: Maria Alejandra Pulgar
The “grateful son of political exiles; a strong believer, currently living the American Dream; a good father, dedicated to God and the Community”, Frank Bolaños has a long history of successful and honest service and civic activity.
Graduated from FIU and Miami-Dade College, with a major in Political Science, after being educated within the Public Schools System of Miami-Dade, Bolaños has occupied leadership and executive positions, serving on the private industry as well as the public sector. Former member among other organizations of the Miami-Dade County School Board and the Doral Community Council, before the incorporation of the city, he has accumulated broad experience and knowledge and developed a strong commitment to the community. It encouraged him to assume the challenge of running for Mayor of Doral in an election process that is defining for the future of the city.
He is extremely polite and kind; very attentive and charming; with a fluent and pleasant conversation. His voice has that very soft accent of the well-educated Cubans from early immigrations; those that took pride on learning perfect English and becoming completely bicultural while preserving their perfect Spanish and their traditions. America for him represents “shelter and hope, the place where you can progress with hard work and dedication” and he profoundly admires Thomas Jefferson. Bolaños cares for all accomplishments that have been obtained in Doral since incorporation, and looks forward to having the chance of working for the preservation of those hardly achieved institutions.
“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family”, Thomas Jefferson
Family for Frank Bolaños means: “honor, history, guidance; the reason for being and believing”.
His early childhood spent in Cuba left him the sweet vivid memory of his 5th birthday party, the last he would celebrate in his country of origin, “a very happy time with family and friends; who would have told me it would be the last I’d celebrate in Cuba”.
His father was a labor leader and had to flee the country first, after requesting political asylum at the Embassy of Ecuador. Frank came to the U.S. later, with his mother Caridad, and never went back: “I do not feel comfortable returning to Cuba until the system is free and sovereign”. Neither did his parents, who already passed away. From his father, Bolaños learned “the love for civic activity, for serving others. Papá was always helping. If someone came from Cuba, no matter how hard times were for us, we gave them shelter at home. And from Mamá I learned the importance of keeping family always together”. It is like that nowadays, even for his campaign. There it is the whole family involved helping. “All of us together for the wellbeing of Doral”.
“I miss my parents a lot. In good times and in bad, they are always present. They always kept a happy, stable home, no matter the economic situation we were living, we were very happy together. We moved a lot, always looking for improvement, for economic opportunities, and I had to attend different schools. At the end it helped me, because by the time I worked at the School Board, I already knew many of them”.
Miami in the 60’s was not an easy place for a foreign child to grow up, however Frank Bolaños considers that his positive attitude towards things in life, always made him have very good experiences, “positive and beautiful. We always had opportunities”. A fan of Football, he used to follow the Baltimore Colts and the Miami Dolphins and played with his cousins in an empty lot in front of his aunt’s house. He had a happy childhood, full of memories and funny anecdotes he cherish dearly.
Education was for his family the foundation and the hope for advancement, “with a good education we are all equal” and they encouraged him to pursue his dreams and desire for higher education. Social and community activism were also important for him and he was among the founders of the Federation of Cuban Students in FIU; “I have always been active, with a great desire to see Cuba free. You never abandon that dream, and try to pass it down to future generations”.
As soon as he was an adult he became an American citizen, with the desire of being able to vote and express his opinions through civic involvement and active participation in the land he now called home.
“My dream has been to have the opportunity to do small things in a big way, to contribute to create something greater than myself. For me transcendence is very important, from the human and also spiritual point of view. Faith has played a key aspect on keeping family together and maintaining spiritual values”. They are practicing Catholics and are members of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish.
Incorporating family in his different civic activities has been the way to keep the balance between the time he dedicates to public service and his family time. They are all involved and support his causes. He considers being able to contribute to the wellbeing of the community, “the extended family”, his greatest achievement. “Successful and trying times for one are also for everyone. We are here to support and help each other. Failures are opportunities to learn, challenges that God brings us to grow spiritually. With ordinary talents we can do extraordinary things.”
“Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle”, Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 1801
“I know that sometimes in politics today’s friends are opponents tomorrow, but for me in politics there are true friends. In life and in politics I do not mind taking risks and give myself to my friends. After a political campaign we can do everything possible to heal wounds and smooth things over. Everyone has to fight for what he wants, in a respectful, civic way. And after the battle you have to reach out to the opponent, and both the winner and the loser have to further continue working together for the community”.
In case of winning, Bolaños plans to invite all candidates to continue participating in different groups and committees within the City activities, as he considers all of them are very capable and have the same goal of working for the benefit of the community. He had a similar experience when he joined the School Board, and was able to successfully lead a reunification process that created the synergy needed for productive work and excellent results to move forward.
“We have to take care of the interest of the community. Doral principles are not for sale” he emphasizes, commenting that he strongly believes those willing to participate do so with the genuine desire for serving and not moved by any foreign interest. “It will be the voter’s responsibility to analyze each candidate, their vision, integrity and profile to make the more adequate decision for the future of the city. To select those that better represent what we are”.
“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate”, Thomas Jefferson
Motivating citizens to participate on the elections is very important for Bolaños, who wants to reach to everyone who lives and works in Doral, regardless of their eligibility to vote. “Everyone has to learn how to care and protect what we have in our city. We cannot allow our quality of life to deteriorate. People have to take action, be informed. We have to create additional ways for Doral residents to participate.
Doral is becoming more and more like a small United Nations. I want to and will be the Mayor for all the residents of Doral”.
Walking the neighborhoods in this campaign has drawn him closer to the needs and desires of the residents, like safety, preserving public schools quality, economic growth and improvement of entertainment options. These are aspects that he looks forward to debate, in English and Spanish, in front of the community with the other candidates, to help residents and voters on a decision making process that will prove to be crucial for the future of the city.