By Sam Bojarski and Larisa Karr
Ahead of Nov. 3, an unprecedented number of voters will cast ballots weeks earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic. As they choose a president, many voters in the two states with the largest Haitian-American populations ‒ Florida and New York ‒ will also see Haitian-American candidates on their ballots.
With more than 425,000 Haitian-Americans in Florida and 200,000 in New York, according to the Census Bureau and community organizations, civic engagement is on full display. In addition to voting, at least 17 candidates from Haitian-American communities are seeking to represent constituents at the municipal, state, and federal levels.
Here is a roundup of notable Haitian-American candidates who may appear on your ballot, depending on where you live. The list is in order of office ranking.
Note: This roundup will be updated periodically ahead of the Nov. 3 election. To include a Haitian-American candidate in your city, county or state, email [email protected].
Dotie Joseph, Florida House District 108
Joseph, a Democrat, is running to represent Florida House District 108 (Miami-Dade County) in the Nov. 3 election. She does not have a Republican challenger.
Joseph is running for her second term in the Florida House, where she serves on the Energy & Utilities, Higher Education Appropriations, Collective Bargaining and Local Administration subcommittees.
About 125,000 Haitians live in Miami-Dade County, according to data gathered by the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center.
Marie Woodson, Florida House District 101
Woodson, a Democrat, is running to represent Florida House District 101 (southeast Broward County). She faces Republican challenger Vincent Parlatore.
Woodson is seeking her first term in office after winning the Democratic primary in August. She spent more than three decades as a public administrator for Miami-Dade County before retiring in 2018. Read her profile here.
About 111,000 Haitians live in Broward County, the Sant La center has reported.
Nancy St. Clair, Florida House District 92
St. Clair is running as an independent candidate to represent Florida House District 92 (northeast Broward County). She faces incumbent Rep. Patricia Hawkins-Williams, a Democrat. St. Clair works in the legal industry and is pursuing a law degree at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.
Gepsie Metellus, Miami-Dade County Commission
Metellus is running to represent District 3 on the Miami-Dade County Commission in a non-partisan race. She earned enough votes in the August primary to force a runoff election with current Commissioner Keon Hardemon in November.
Metellus is co-founder and executive director of the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center, a social services organization that serves Haitian immigrants in South Florida.
District 3 encompasses multiple Miami neighborhoods, including Little Haiti. Read more about Metellus and her candidacy here.
Linda Julien, Miami Gardens Council
Julien is running for Miami Gardens City Council, Seat 5, a non-partisan position. After garnering the second-most votes in the August primary, she faces incumbent Councilmember Andre Williams in a Nov. 3 runoff election.
A native of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, Julien currently serves as economic development manager for the City of North Miami.
Per 2010 Census Bureau estimates, more than 9,100 Haitians live in Miami Gardens.
Nadia Assad, Lauderhill Commissioner
A community advocate, Assad works as an administration assistant for the City of Fort Lauderdale.
Lauderhill has about 8,600 Haitian residents, according to the Census Bureau’s 2010 figures.
Nancy Metayer, Coral Springs Commissioner
Metayer is a candidate for Coral Springs City Commission District 3, a non-partisan position. She will face five opponents on Nov. 3: Randal Cutter, Noor Fawzy, Andy Kasten, Jose Morera and Abel Pena.
Metayer has resided in Coral Springs for more than 20 years and works as a statewide coalition manager for NEO Philanthropy, a nonprofit dedicated to building social justice movements.
Coral Springs contains nearly 5,000 Haitian residents per 2010 Census Bureau estimates.
Ketley Joachim, Henry Raphael Dube and Daniela Jean, North Miami Beach Commissioner
Ketley Joachim, Henry Raphael Dube and Daniela Jean are all running in a non-partisan race for City of North Miami Beach Commissioner, Seat 3. They face each other as well as opponents Ruth Abeckjerr, Margaret Love and Dianne Weis Raulson on Nov. 3.
More than 9,800 Haitians live in North Miami Beach, according to the Census Bureau. Joachim, a native of Cap-Haitien, Haiti, has resided in North Miami Beach since 1995, where she has earned a reputation as a community advocate.
Dube currently works as a mortgage loan originator for Florida Preferred Mortgage, according to his social media pages.
Jean is a published author who also works as a risk management specialist for the neighboring City of North Miami.
Constantin Jean-Pierre, 9th Congressional District
Jean-Pierre, a Republican, is running to represent New York’s 9th Congressional District (Brooklyn) in the Nov. 3 election. He faces incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke, a Democrat, who has represented the district since 2013.
Jean-Pierre has worked for the New York City Department of Correction and coaches youth sports in the community.
More than 90,000 Haitian-Americans reside in Brooklyn.
Kimberly Jean-Pierre, Assembly District 11
Jean-Pierre, a Democrat, is running to represent District 11 (Suffolk County) in the state assembly. She faces Republican opponent Eugene Murray on Nov. 3. Jean-Pierre is serving in her third term as an assembly member.
In the assembly, she chairs the Subcommittee on Banking in Underserved Communities.
Long Island, which includes Suffolk and Nassau counties, is home to more than 19,700 Haitians.
Michaelle Solages, Assembly District 22
Solages is in her fourth term as an assembly member and chairs the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
Clyde Vanel, Assembly District 33
Vanel, a Democrat, is running to represent District 33 (southeast Queens) in the state assembly. He is running unopposed in the Nov. 3 election and is in his second term as an assembly member.
Vanel chairs the assembly’s Subcommittee on Internet and New Technology.
Census Bureau data from 2010 shows that more than 40,000 Haitians live in Queens.
Rodneyse Bichotte, Assembly District 42
Bichotte, a Democrat, is running to represent District 42 (central Brooklyn) in the state assembly. She will run unopposed in the Nov. 3 election. District 42 spans the neighborhoods of Flatbush and East Flatbush.
Bichotte has served in the state legislature since 2015 and chairs the assembly’s subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE).
Mathylde Frontus, Assembly District 46
Frontus, a Democrat, is running to represent District 46 (south Brooklyn) in the state assembly. She faces Republican challenger Mark Szuskiewicz on Nov. 3.
Frontus is running for her second term in the state assembly. She is a member of the committees on Aging, Children and Families, Mental Health, Economic Development, Tourism and Transportation.
Phara Souffrant Forrest, Assembly District 57
Forrest, a Democrat, is running to represent District 57 (Brooklyn ‒ Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights) in the state assembly. She defeated incumbent Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley in the Democratic primary. Mosley will appear on the November ballot under the Working Families Party ticket.
Forrest is a nurse, tenant activist and member of the Democratic Socialists of America organization.