By Nelson A. King
A Trinidadian-born legislator in Florida has been elected lieutenant governor, becoming the first Black to hold the second-in-command position in the Sunshine State.
Jennifer Carroll, 51, a former Republican State Representative in Florida’s Legislature, was elected in the Nov. 2 elections as Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s running mate.
Scott secured a razor-thin victory in his costly campaign for governor Wednesday, after Democrat Alex Sink ended an overnight drama that saw both candidates waiting for results to trickle in from South Florida.
“Jennifer and I are eager to start bringing people together to solve our problems,” said Scott after declaring victory.
“I am honored that Jennifer is the first African-American Republican woman to be part of a statewide ticket in Florida,” he added.
“Jennifer Carroll is the embodiment of the American dream. She came to America as a young girl, decided to serve her country with the United States Navy, pursued a higher education, started a small business, and then was elected the first African-American female Republican in the Florida Legislature,” continued Florida’s new governor.
Carroll, who was born on August 27, 1959, is also a business woman and retired Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy. She had served as the District 13 Representative in the House of Representatives of the State of Florida.
First elected to the Florida House in a special election in April 2003, Carroll, who was born in Port of Spain, came to the United States at the age of eight.
Two years after graduating from Uniondale High School in New York, she enlisted in the US Navy in 1979.
After serving as an Aviation Machinist Mate (Jet Mechanic), she was selected for Enlisted Commissioning Program. She was commissioned in 1985 and served as an Aviation Maintenance Office until retiring in 1999 as a Lieutenant Commander.
Carroll made two unsuccessful bids for the United States House of Representatives in 2000 and in 2002.
She was elected successively to the Florida House since winning a special election in April 2003, when she became the first black female Republican ever elected to the Florida Legislature.