Fri | Apr 16, 2021

Jamaican appointed vice-chair of Florida Democratic Party

Published:Monday | March 1, 2021 | 12:16 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
The Rev Dr Karen Green (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Rev Dr Karen Green (left) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Another Jamaican has made it to the upper echelons of the political ladder in the United States.

The Rev Dr Karen Green has been appointed one of four vice-chairs of the Florida Democratic Party.

Green most recently served as the Florida Democratic Party’s chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is also a humanitarian ambassador-at-large for the United Nations.

An alumna of St Hugh’s High School in Jamaica, she has served as the Caribbean Coalition director for a number of presidential campaigns, including Hillary Clinton’s. She is also a presidential campaign liaison for Democrats abroad and has served as advance speaker to former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Green was appointed to her new political position by the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Manny Diaz.

The new vice-chairs will join existing executive members to comprise the Florida Democratic Party’s statewide leadership team.

In an interview with The Gleaner on her new appointment, Green emphasised that her priority will be to expand the message of the Democratic Party in Florida, as well as bring various communities into the fold.

Noting that the Democratic Party did not do as well in the 2020 elections as had been expected, she said that the party did not sufficiently counter the message promulgated by Republicans in the state.

“This (position) provides me with the opportunity to apply my experiences, knowledge, and successes to bring inclusion into the democratic process. My outreach will be to women who are critical pieces of the Democratic Party, if we are to make significant strides in Florida,” she said.

Green will be looking to replicate the best practices of the outreach programme utilised by Stacey Abrams in Georgia, which led to Joe Biden winning an overwhelming Republican state and securing victories for two Democratic Senate candidates.

A former student of the University of Technology and The University of the West Indies before going off to London, England, to study, Green had her first foray into politics in Jamaica as a young intern in the Ministry of Youth.

From there, she reported having organised and registered many youth voters in Portmore, St Catherine.

Her entry into US politics came after migrating in 1990 and was inspired by Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic Party Convention in support of the candidacy of John Kerry.

“I supported Kerry’s presidential campaign and later worked with the Obama coalition,” she pointed out.

But she sees her new role as another challenge on the political journey.

“We have to select the right candidates for statewide offices in Florida – candidates who bring diversity and have a winning message,” she said.

Green said that immigration, education, healthcare, minimum wage, small businesses, economic empowerment, agricultural and industrial partnerships, and reaching beyond the traditional Democratic lines to woo new members would be critical to effectively competing in Florida.

“We have to find a way to educate and build alliances. We have to find issues that will make voters see us as more electable,” she said.

Green also believes that faith-based outreach must be part of the Democratic Party’s strategy.

A respected political strategist, social justice advocate, mediator, and humanitarian, Green brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her new task as she seeks to transform the Florida political landscape into Democratic territory.