For Bill Roedy, campaigning to be Miami Beach mayor is no stepping stone.
Roedy’s life story is quite remarkable – a West Point graduate who deployed to Vietnam and later established MTV in over 200 countries before chairing amfAR, a leading AIDS research organization.
So why, at this stage of his career, would the 75-year-old Independent want to be mayor of a party hearty Florida beach town?
“I’ve seen a bunch of challenges that I think my skill set can help solve,” Roedy told OutSFL during a Zoom interview. “Miami Beach is my home. I was brought up here, and I’m passionate about this city and I want to make it better.”
Roedy is one of four candidates seeking the position. The others are all seasoned politicians, who have sat on the dais before.
Roedy’s message is action with integrity, and he is intent on doing away with a “pay for play” system involving development.
“We have a small island, it’s popular and everybody wants to live here,” Roedy said. “Developers are quite eager to put their flag here, and they can hold out temptations to politicians with backroom deals. We want to get rid of that.”
Roedy knows a thing or two about business. At MTV, he traveled the globe to meet with heads of state and corporate executives to get the music network into homes. In his book, “What Makes Business Rock”, Roedy describes how MTV’s HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns finally brought China to the table to fight the pandemic.
“China was really tough,” Roedy wrote. “The Chinese refused to talk about gay sex or heterosexual sex. Instead they talked about the children who had been orphaned because their parents had died from this terrible disease. All the visuals were about these AIDS orphans. Although it certainly was an obtuse way of getting to the point, I accepted it, knowing that any way we got there was okay.”
Roedy has lost friends to AIDS and is quick to acknowledge the battle is far from over, especially in South Florida, which continues to have some of the world’s highest infection rates. With new tools such as PrEP available, eradicating the virus is within reach, Roedy said.
“We’re just right on the cusp of an actual cure,” he said.
Ensuring Miami Beach remains safe and inclusive for LGBT people is another campaign priority. While state officials, under Gov. Ron DeSantis, have cracked down on LGBT curriculum in schools, Miami Beach is one of a handful of cities to recognize LGBTQ History Month.
“There are some challenges and threats coming out of Tallahassee,” Roedy said. “We need to walk with a bit of swagger and show the world we are the leading community in all issues of LGBTQ+. This is a critical point, part of our welcoming and beacon to the world, we need to make sure we deliver on that.”
The general election is Nov. 7. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on Nov. 21.