About Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, District 1
Barbara J. Jordan was born in New York City but grew up in South Miami-Dade, where she learned the value of hard work - sometimes working in the bean fields with her family. She attended a segregated public school system and subsequently graduated from Arthur and Polly Mays High School in Goulds. In 1965, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Psychology from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1986, she received a Master of Science degree in Human Services from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida.
Over the next 34 years, Jordan would enjoy an illustrious career with Miami-Dade County, starting with Head Start. As a Public Administrator, she was responsible for the creation of a number of programs and organizations, which helped to empower young people and prepare them for future economic independence through employment opportunities. One of her most proud professional achievements was the formation of the Greater Miami Service Corps, a program that helps troubled youth to realize their potential, return to education, secure employment, and achieve self reliance.
In 1997, Jordan was appointed Assistant County Manager, serving in that capacity for seven years. In that role, she oversaw county departments that promoted social and economic independence and addressed complex social issues. Some of those departments included Miami-Dade Housing Agency, Office of Community and Economic Development, Department of Business Development, Metro-Miami Action Plan, Consumer Services, Human Resources, Community Action Agency and the Department of Human Services.
In 2004, she was tapped by outgoing Commissioner Betty Ferguson to run for the Board of County Commissioners. In spite of being virtually unknown communitywide, Jordan was able to defeat a former Mayor and State Legislator by more than 20 percent of the electoral vote.
As Commissioner for District 1, she represents the Cities of Opa-Locka and Miami Gardens, as well as unincorporated communities that include California Club, Ives Estates and Country Club Lakes.
In 2007, Jordan was elected by her colleagues to serve as Vice-Chairperson of the County Commission and Chair of the Transit Committee for a two-year term. Her current committee assignments include Housing and Social Services, Parks and Cultural Affairs, and she is Vice Chair of Public Safety and Health. She is also a member of the Transportation Planning Organization, Youth Crime Taskforce and CareerSource Florida.
Commissioner Jordan was elected unopposed for a fourth term in 2016. Now in her fourteenth year, Jordan has championed several issues facing minorities and the underprivileged. She has been a leader in the areas of affordable housing, small business development, children and senior programs, while fostering continuous economic development within her district. Since taking office, she has directed the infusion of more than $70 million in construction and infrastructure projects including road resurfacing, drainage improvements, sidewalk installation, speed calming devices, road beautification, affordable and elderly housing and home rehabilitation and beautification programs. She has also provided resources for the creation and development of the Opa-locka Branch Library, the restoration of the historic Opa-locka City Hall and a $5 million allocation to Florida Memorial University for the construction of a Multi-Purpose Arena. Her leadership has also fostered more than $500 million in public and private investments at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport; including the $150 million Carrie Meek International Business Park, which is home to the new Amazon Fulfillment Center. As commissioner, she also sponsors numerous community events that celebrate the rich culture and diversity of District 1 including the Black Heritage Festival and Hispanic Heritage Festival. Other events that she sponsors are Foster, Adoptive, Kinship & Independent Living Commemorative Ceremony, Valentine’s Day Dance for Seniors, Music in the Park jazz concert series, Summer Youth Internship Initiative (SYII), Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway, Holiday Toy Giveaway, and Small-Business workshops.
Commissioner Jordan’s presence in the community garners many requests for speaking engagements. In 2012 she delivered the Spring Commencement address to Florida Memorial University’s largest graduating class. President Henry Lewis III presented Commissioner Jordan an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters.
Throughout her exemplary career, Commissioner Jordan has been able to balance her life with strong family support. She was married to her husband, Eddie, who passed away in 2017, for over 50 years. She has two adult daughters; Gidget and Winnie; six grandchildren - Neffeteria, Elijah, Jeremiah, Gabrielle, Jamie, and Kerri; and two new great grandbabies, Amy Naiema and Trayvon Jr.