TheGrio's 100: Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, a trailblazer for women in politics and the military

Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll is used to standing out. The Trinidadian-American served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, working as an enlisted jet mechanic — a rarity for women at that time – and rising in rank to retire as a lieutenant commander aviation maintenance officer. In 2003, Carroll made her first foray into politics, winning a seat in Florida’s House of Representatives and becoming the first African-American female Republican elected in the state Legislature’s history. As Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s second-in-command, Carroll is the first African-American Republican woman on a statewide ticket.

Before becoming a legislator, Carroll was the executive director of the state’s Department of Veterans Affairs. She was also a small business owner, starting and running a public relations and consulting firm with her husband.

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During her time as a legislator, Carroll worked to create jobs, appropriating nearly $3 million to fund the Florida Export Finance Corporation, which helps give employers access to short-term loans intended to create and retain jobs. She also sponsored legislation that created a tax refund program for certain industries that created high-wage jobs in the state.

Jennifer Carroll is making history as… a pioneer in Florida politics. As an African-American Republican, Carroll has made history in being elected to Florida’s Legislature and executive branch.

What’s next for Jennifer?

Carroll is happy with her lieutenant governor position but said she is open and ready for any other opportunities in the future.

In her own words…

“To me, when you get elected it’s no longer (about) your party affiliation,” she said. “What it is about is the issues that impact the citizens you represent and for you to do something about it – to fix those issues that are negative and turn it into a positive.”

A little-known fact…

Carroll once attended modeling school in New Mexico and received offers for being in commercials, photo shoots and movie extra positions.

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