Fort Lauderdale, FL:
Caribbean nationals residing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, may have lost the fist fight to elect Hillary Clinton, the next president of the United States, but they scored big in quite of few of the municipal elections.
At least three municipalities in Broward County will have a new look when the new commission takes office in a matter of days. One such is the City of Tamarac, where 31 year old pastor, Marlon Bolton will take his seat as not only the youngest commissioner, but also the first person of color in the City’s 53 year history.
“Having Jamaican parents who taught me that hard work is always the key to success, came in handy. I knocked on doors, engaged voters and mobilized my message (of inclusivity) fast. I attribute this and a blueprint for success from God as the cause for my victory. Now the real work begins, and my promise is to always keep the needs and desires of my community first,” Bolton told the Weekly Gleaner while preparing for his inauguration at City Hall.
Next door in Sunrise, Attorney Mark A. Douglas (Jamaican), also broke through the glass ceiling, becoming the first Caribbean American and first person of color to occupy a government seat at City Hall. He told reporters that he was ready for the challenge and the cooperation of the other commissioners in championing the issues of the city residents.
Across town, Lauderdale Lakes will have a new mayor in veteran politician Hazelle Rogers, considered a shoo-in from the day she announced her candidacy. Term limited after two successful terms as Florida State Representative -District 95 (Greater Fort Lauderdale), many wondered if this was a worthwhile move for the popular Rogers. Some argue, it’s a step down whole those closest to her say the mayorship will keep her busy while she ponders her next move in representational politics.
It is interesting to note here that she takes over from Barrington Russell (Jamaican), who narrowly won the seat she vacated, this past August.
Rogers (Jamaica) will be at home in Lauderdale Lakes, a decidedly Caribbean working class enclave that takes in parts of Lauderhill.
In Lauderhill proper, the second time around was no charm for Richard Campbell, best known as the president of the Caribbean American Soccer Association (CASA). He failed despite a better, all-round organized effort, to unseat veteran commissioner Howard Berger. Berger has been a commissioner since 2004 and Campbell campaigned on the notion that it was time for him to go. No so, said the voters. It will be Berger’s last term due to term limits voted on in 2008.
Despite the large presence of a Democrat-friendly Caribbean American constituency, the key battleground state of Florida went to the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, in an election that seemed to have ‘trumped’ even the best minds in the science of voting.
“Like most Americans or Jamaicans in the Diaspora, I’m shocked! I believe the Hillary (Clinton) campaign underestimated Donald Trump. The Bible tells us that God is the one who establishes government. Now we will have to see where (president-elect) Mr. Trump takes us,” offered Bolton when asked his opinion on the results of the November 8 election for POTUS.