Cuban-Puerto Rican Political Organizer Alex Berrios Wants to Lead and Transform the Florida Democratic Party

Image via Alex Berrios/Mi Vecino website

By Giselle Balido

February 6, 2023

After seeing Florida Democrats lose every statewide election in November, the candidate for chairperson wants to get the party back to basics and reconnecting with working class people. 

Political consultant Alex Berrios, who has announced his candidacy to lead the Florida Democratic Party, is a fighter. Of course, you’ve heard this said many times before about other politicians. But in this case, it is not just a figure of speech. Berrios literally grew up a fighter.  

“I was born into poverty, and I worked in boxing for decades,” Berrios, who is of Cuban-Puerto Rican origin, told Floricua. “It was a sport that was a passion […] and I was able to fight my way out of that situation.”

Twenty years after duking it out in the ring, and after party chairman Manny Diaz resigned in January, the political strategist feels ready to take on the job of revitalizing and taking the state’s Democratic party to the next level. He will be vying for the position against former Sen. Annette Taddeo.

Deep Roots

Berrios began as a local Democratic volunteer. He has raised millions for year-round voter registration and organizing, and in 2021 he and fundraiser Devon Murphy-Anderson founded Mi Vecino, an organization dedicated to registering voters. 

After seeing Florida Democrats lose every statewide election in November, Berrios is convinced that the party needs to get back to basics: reconnecting with working class people. 

What did the November results tell you about the Democratic party in Florida?

I think that we have truly, truly lost touch with our communities, with the struggles of everyday Floridians, and we are just unable to shake this stereotype of being out of touch, unrelated blue coastal elitists who are socialists and don’t care for the working people in our communities. I think that we need to take ownership of the situation, reconnect with working class people.

How do you propose to do that?

Part of the plan for the Democratic party under my leadership will be the restoration of that community connection and community investment every cycle. 

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How important is messaging?

I’ve worked for the Democratic Party for years. I’ve seen a lot of the shortcomings and things that we can do better. And one of them is definitely communication. Democrats tend to communicate to ourselves; we’re just in a bubble, and we expect the people to come find our messages and that’s just not how it works. So we talk [amongst ourselves] about economic issues, about the successes of the Biden administration, about Republicans wanting to cut these services [Medicare, Social Security] that people depend on for their lives and their sustenance and their families. But we don’t talk to them about it. We just talk to each other about it. 

Berrios announced his candidacy after Manny Diaz’s resignation.

Why do you think this is?

We have this assumption that working class people are tuned into the news, and they’re following every single step of the journey of corruption and what Gov. Ron De Santis has done. And they don’t. We’re busy discussing a 700-point policy plan that people that are working two jobs, just trying to buy apple juice for their baby don’t have time to read or understand or consume.

We’re not present in their communities because we only show up when we’re there to ask for our vote and tell them to come vote for us. We need to communicate with people directly. 

Reaching Out

What are some of your ideas to establish this direct communication?

We’ve identified 378 locations in Miami Dade—barber shops, gas stations, community places where people tend to gather, and high foot traffic areas—as locations where we can communicate with voters, with people in general, spread a message, and learn to understand what people are going through. We need to have those relationships, they need to know who we are, what we stand for, and how we can benefit their lives.

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Some claim Gov. De Santis has been fighting culture wars, such as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and his open hostility toward anything and anyone deemed “woke,” that distract people from real problems like the rising cost of housing, unaffordable property insurance and health care, etc. How do you combat that?

I think the first step is to stop letting [Republicans] control the narrative. One thing that we always do in boxing is say ‘fight your fight, don’t fight your opponent’s fight.’ Every time Ron De Santis throws a grenade, we need to stop racing to catch it. And so, when De Santis tries to build frameworks suggesting to people that he’s protecting parental rights, we can very easily counter with ‘Why are young girls in school being forced to submit personal information about their periods and their bodies? Why are we erasing entire courses from colleges and banning books? And what is the effect of that?’ Without having access to our history, without having access to [other] courses, Florida children are going to be less able to compete. They’re going to struggle in college if they move out of Florida. DeSantis is robbing our children of opportunities in the future.

If you win the seat, what are the two or three things you will do first to re-energize the Democratic Party?

First is going to be working towards raising a million dollars within the first 90 days, and restoring the board of trustees, which was a very popular program. I’ve already got former board of trustee’s members lining up to support the Democratic Party under my leadership; we’re going to need the resources to move our party forward. I’m going to invest. We’ll be releasing a press statement for a six-figure investment in infrastructure where we invest in ourselves and each other, so our local activists across the state have the training, the skills and the resources necessary to more effectively communicate with the people in their community.

Apart from your success fundraising and registering voters, what are some of the things that make you uniquely qualified to lead Florida’s Democratic Party?

I don’t know how many candidates for the Democratic Party chair have a background in combat sports, but I do have one. And having this arc has given me a perspective and a point of view that has informed the way that I approach politics, understanding that my story of second chances is uncommon in our politics, but it’s extremely common in the community where I live. And also, I am unafraid to speak the truth.


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



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