A Vincentian running as an independent candidate for the office of Trustee in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead, Nassau County, Long Is. has described as “a surreal experience” getting on the ballot.
“Starting from day one, when I announced my candidacy, all the way to getting on the actual ballot — Row C last week Tuesday — proved to me that hard work pays off,” Rosanne “Rosie” Small-Morgan, a senior advocate for the elderly, blind, disabled and underserved population, told Caribbean Life on Tuesday.
“I am extremely proud that I stuck to my guns, and I am the only independent woman candidate for trustee,” added Small-Morgan, who is also a senior consumer advocate, author, mentor, motivational speaker, radio and talk show host, with a weekly newspaper advice column. “I want the residents of Hempstead to know that I am here to represent them with integrity, transparency and compassion.
“So, I stand proudly under my party’s name, ‘Transparency for Hempstead,’” she continued. “Please remember to Vote Row C for Rosie. Vote Row C first, then pick your other three candidates on March 16.
“There’s still so much to do between now and March 16, but I will continue to go door to door to introduce myself to my fellow residents, sharing with them my vision for the village,” said Small-Morgan, also works in the utility industry, where she manages Nassau County and the Rockaways in Queens.
She said she will like to see more mentorship and internship programs for children, as well as more education for seniors on available programs for them.
“I want to step up our beautification program here in Hempstead, along with working with the authorities and civic associations to improve our safety and lowering the crime,” Small-Morgan said. “These are just small snippets of what I would like to bring to the village.”
There are four Trustees in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead that has a population of about 55,000 residents, according to the United States Census.
With a heavy concentration of Caribbean Americans, Hempstead is predominantly African American (Blacks) and Latinos. There is also a small population of whites and Asians.
Small-Morgan, 51 — who moved with her family to Hempstead in October 1994 after residing in Queens Village — is a wife and a “proud mother of two gifted children,” one of whom has autism.
The candidate, who migrated from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1988, is reportedly the first Caribbean-born woman to seek the office of Trustee in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead.
She said she had been “sitting on this announcement for a couple of weeks, going back and forth with God,” before declaring her candidacy.
“Literally, if He didn’t speak to my heart, I wouldn’t do this,” she said. “I am confident that, with my many years of public service, along with the many connections that I’ve made networking personally and professionally, I can help enhance and bring positive changes to the Inc. Village of Hempstead.
“My family and I love this historic village,” she added. “We know there’s so much more that can be done to enhance its growth and opportunities for its residents. I want to see us all thrive, have improved quality of life and continued growth.”
Small-Morgan — who is also the executive director of the non-profit organization, Autism Who Knew Inc., which caters primarily to the African American, Caribbean and Latino populations — said the Incorporated Village of Hempstead is “due for a change.”
She said this change should involve “transparency, using grassroots efforts to bring more services and economic opportunities to the residents.”
“I am that person to bring these changes to the Village,” Small-Morgan affirmed.
She said the role of the Trustee is to set policies, approve budgets, and generally oversees the work that involves reviewing and approving the various appointed boards and committees in the Village.
Small-Morgan said her campaign planks are focused on economic development; mentorship and internship programs, especially for the middle and high school children; developing a new first time Home Buyers program for young families; helping the elderly and the underserved to get more services; and aiding families with special needs children.
On economic development, she said she would foster an environment to lure big and small businesses alike to the Village.
Small-Morgan said the mentorship and internship programs would enable intervention before middle and high school children are recruited by gangs.
The new, first time Home Buyers program for young families would “bring more pride of ownership in the village,” she said.
Small-Morgan said she would fight for more services, such as energy efficiency programs, addressing food insecurity and financial literacy, for the elderly and the underserved.
For families with special needs children, she said she would assist them in accessing “their rightful services.”
“I would like to be their advocate, so they can have the best quality of life possible,” Small-Morgan said.
“I think I stand a great chance of winning,” she added. “I am an advocate at heart. Addressing the needs and concerns of the residents of the Inc. Village of Hempstead is very important to me. I look forward to meeting the public and hearing their concerns.”
Small-Morgan — an active member of the Hempstead United Methodist Church, where she sits on the Board of Trustees — promised to be transparent and honest.
She also vowed to work hard in bringing the promised programs and agendas “to life.”
“The public will benefit from my many resources that I will share with them, and I am eager to do so,” Small-Morgan pledged. “I am very approachable and willing to work with others for the greater good.
“I want to see all the residents have an improved quality of life,” she added. “I would like to help create an upward trajectory for the residents of the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. It will be an honor to work within my community.
“We are in such a unique time here in America — division, distrust and, in many cases, a depressed economy,” Small-Morgan continued. “I, however, am still very hopeful that we can make small changes to yield a huge and positive outcome.
“One brick at a time builds a solid foundation,” she said. “That is what my mother taught me. I hope to become a bricklayer to build a sturdy and prosperous foundation for change in the Inc. Village of Hempstead for future generations.”
Small-Morgan’s mom, Lorna Small, who was shockingly murdered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2008, was the retired Director of Libraries and Archives in her native land.
Small-Morgan said her mother taught her to have faith, to persevere and to give-back to the community.
“So, in her memory, I continue to persevere, through my struggles, and to give back and help others through their journey,” she said.
Small-Morgan thanked her fellow Vincentians, other Caribbean nationals, her campaign team and local friends for supporting her “to push on to pursue this goal.”
“I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough,” she said.