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Mayor Tomás Regalado, Miami, and the American Dream

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado surrounded by members of the community and other officials speaks to the media about gun violence on January 14, 2013 in Miami, Florida.

Miami is a city made up of people from all walks of life. No one knows that better than Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado.

"Miami is one of the most diverse cities in the world," says the mayor. "Sixty-some percent of people living in Miami were born outside the United States."

Regalado is one of them. Born in Cuba, he came to the United States at age 14. After a distinguished career as a journalist , Regalado was elected mayor in 2009.

Regalado sees his city's diversity as emblematic of 21st century America. "Miami, I guess, is the only city that officially has an area called Little Havana, Little Haiti, Little Managua, Little Tegucigalpa... I think Miami is what the United States will be in 25 to 30 years."

Miami is also one of the country's richest cities, and one of its poorest. Given that reality, Regalado says he's working to implement policies aimed at closing the city's wealth gap and strengthen the middle class.

"Miami is trying to become like Dallas, a city that will be a regional center for investors," says Regalado. "We have to seize the opportunity with Latin America and Asia to bring investors to Miami."

As the immigrant mayor of a city of immigrants, Regalado firmly believes that the American Dream is still achievable for people coming to this country.

"Number one, they need to understand that this is a country of law, understand that they need to follow the rules, understand that they have to work, and not live on handouts -- and by doing that, people can succeed," the mayor says.

As his city continues to rebound from the recent recession, Regalado believes other U.S. cities, as well as the federal government, could learn a few lessons from Miami's recovery.

"Learn about how Miami survived the crisis and is coming back as a great city by doing what every family in the U.S. did at the time, and is doing now -- living within its means," says Regalado. "I know this is very difficult for Washington to understand, but I'm not going to kill a city to save a government."

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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Kind of staggering that, in a piece about "The American Dream" when the discussion turns to the simple fact that there are some wealthy people in Miami, Mr. Hobson's first thought is "Is there any way to fix that?" (at 1:40).

In Mr. Hobson's world, apparently wealth is a counter-example to "The American Dream" and must be "fixed." At least Mr. Hobson is right at home on NPR.

I was disappointed that the the County of Miami Dade was not spoken of as a whole Metropolis.. the City of Miami is only a tiny part of the this large & complex metro area, whic has many other cities and diversitites, including all of the Caribbean, European, Jewish and Asian populations along with the original White settlers !! We seem to be stuck in only the Miami Latin communites are of interest to the rest of the nation....... Mayor Regalado certainly reinforced that image (Haiti of course was mentioned!)

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