Story by Rinetta M. Fefie
Photos by Frank M. Powell
It was a historical moment beginning with the Salute to Women in Leadership Breakfast on Monday morning, followed with a Tribute to the First Lady, Honoring Those who Serve, a Path to Prosperity Reception, Florida’s Future Youth Concert and the Inaugural Candlelight Dinner. The two-day event was extremely elaborate but what was most impressive was the swearing in of Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll.
Many in the African American community admitted it was difficult to hold back the tears as Ms. Carroll was sworn in. She was joined by her family as her husband held the Bible that she placed her hand upon.
Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Carroll’s story is even more touching since she was adopted by her parents. She moved to the United States when she was eight years of age, and after graduating from high school, joined the U. S. Navy. She was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and became an Aviation Maintenance Officer in 1985. She retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander and later received an Associate of Arts Degree, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Business Administration.
Jennifer Carroll is the first Black and the first female elected as the Lieutenant Governor of Florida. She is also the first African American female Republican elected to the Florida Legislature. Actually, she is the first Black female on any statewide Republican ticket for the state.
Ms. Carroll is married to Nolan Carroll, Sr. They have three children, Nolan Carroll, Jr., Nyckie and Necho. Her son, Nolan Carroll, Jr. plays with the Miami Dolphins.
Even though many are proud of Ms. Carroll and feel she is a quiet but strong person, they are still concerned about what lies ahead for Florida’s minority community under this Republican administration with strong Tea Party ideas. Governor Rick Scott ran his campaign on creating jobs for Floridians and during his inaugural address alluded to how he will do it. Will Ms. Carroll be given the power to help achieve such a goal? Governor Scott said, “We have hard-working people who desperately want jobs. We have energetic entrepreneurs with plenty of ideas.. and persuadable investors with ready cash.” He ended his speech with, “Lets get to work.”