By Farah Louis
Florida is home to the largest population of Haitians outside of the small island nation. Take a look below at some of the leading Haitian American politicians in Florida working for the Haitian Diaspora in Florida.
Al Jacquet, a Haitian-American attorney and emerging leader from Broward County Florida is making strides in office after being elected commissioner in March 2012. Jacquet was appointed to vice president of the Planning and Zoning Board before his election in 2009 and served as a legislative aide in the Florida House of Representatives, handling complex and challenging legislation. Jacquet has a passion for city planning and organizational management and speaks four languages.
Michael A. Etienne, a young progressive lawyer from North Miami Florida was elected in May 2011 as the North Miami City Clerk. After graduating from law school in Florida A&M University, Etienne won his first trial at the early age of 23. He later went on to join the public defender’s office and served as a legislative aide in Florida’s House of Representatives until his race for City Clerk n 2011.
Philippe Bien-Aime, a North Miami councilman from District 3, won his City Council seat in May 2013. Bien-Aime a Haitian immigrant from Port-au-Prince, was a salesman who worked in the automobile industry for 20 years. Bien-Aime was a novice to politics before his first run for office. Bien-Aime has also been a devoted community leader throughout South Florida lobbying on immigration issues.
Residents of North Miami replaced suspended Mayor Lucie Tondreau, with newly-elected Mayor Smith Joseph in November 2014. Mayor Joseph, 52, is a political newcomer and former physician who practiced in North Miami, and ran for the leading seat during a runoff election. Joseph said to the Miami Herald, “There is no one more in touch with the city of North Miami than Dr. Smith Joseph.”
Democratic incumbent Daphne Campbell, 57, represents the Florida House of Representatives in the 108th District, which includes Miami, North Miami and northern Miami-Dade, since 2011. Campbell is from Cap-Haiten, Haiti where she attended nursing school and later became a registered nurse. Campbell and her husband moved to Florida where they founded a group home and a chain of nursing homes for the elderly.
Victoria Pierre Siplin, 40, a political guru since the earlier ages of her life, had her first taste of politics when she began working with the first African-American senator in Florida, Arnett E. Girardeau, and Senator Carrie P. Meek. Siplin was elected as the Commissioner of Orange County District 6 in November 2014.