Jennifer S. Carroll
Jennifer is a public speaker, bestseller author "WHEN YOU GET THERE", an Autobiography, former Political Analyst WJXT CHANNEL News4Jax Jacksonville, Florida, providing unbiased analysis of political issues, ballot initiatives, government, local and national races. Jennifer served as a Senior Advisor for Global Digital Solutions Inc. Advisory Board and worked with officers and directors to complete multiple acquisitions. She is the former President and C.E.O. of North American Custom Specialty Vehicles, Inc. and is the current CEO of Yolo Rum Ltd.
Jennifer was Florida's 18th Lieutenant Governor. She was the first female elected as Lieutenant Governor in Florida and the first African American and Caribbean elected Statewide. She immigrated to the United States at the age of eight and served her adopted land admirably.
She was a state legislator for over seven years, a small business owner, former Executive Director of Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs and is a 20-year retired Navy veteran. In addition to her duties assisting the Governor with economic development, Jennifer oversaw the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, and Chairperson of Space Florida. She was also the Governor's Designee on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, and Chairperson on the Governor's Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection.
Jennifer's work as Chairperson of Space Florida was instrumental in creating thousands of new private sector, space and aerospace related jobs. During her first year in office the State of Florida won a 10-year contract to manage the International Space Station National Laboratory bringing in $15 million per-year to the state for life science research and development. Additionally, her efforts to capture national contracts landed the operations of Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Lockheed Martin's "Marlin" Automated Underwater Vehicle testing and manufacturing in West Palm Beach, and the Shuttle Atlantis finding a permanent home at KSC and XCOR Aerospace establishing an East Coast U.S. operational base and manufacturing and assembly center for XCOR Lynx Mark II suborbital reusable launch vehicles in Florida. Jennifer was key in making Cecil Field in Jacksonville a Space Port and bringing additional testing capabilities to the Naval Ordinance and Testing Unit at Cape Canaveral. These substantive projects created high quality sustainable jobs and increased revenue for the state. In October of 2011, Jennifer led a Space Florida Trade Mission to Europe where she signed Memorandum of Understandings with United Kingdom (U.K.) and the Kingdom of Spain. She met with companies from the U.K. which led to at least one U.K. business opening Florida operations on the Space Coast and creating new jobs.
In her role as head of Military Affairs, Jennifer visited nearly all of Florida's 20 military installations. She traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional and Pentagon officials to advocate for Florida's $65 billion military economy and defense industry. Jennifer's efforts resulted in increased military positions, military construction funding and increased defense contract opportunities for Florida's businesses. Jennifer was particularly active in protecting Florida's military installations from encroachment and has helped move several projects that not only stop development near military activities but protects and conserves Florida's precious natural lands and waterways.
Jennifer was instrumental to Governor Scott's increased focus on foreign trade. In November of 2011 Jennifer led an Enterprise Florida Trade Mission to South Africa. The 39-person delegation's work on this mission led to $40 million in new trade between Florida and South Africa. In August of 2012 Jennifer led an Enterprise Florida Trade Mission to Trinidad and Tobago that yielded $30 million in trade between the nations. During this visit to Trinidad and Tobago, Jennifer was invited by the United States Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs to travel the nation and lecture on the U.S. presidential election process.
As a legislator, Jennifer worked to pass meaningful legislation that enhanced economic development, which included procuring $2.9 million to fund the Florida Export Finance Corporation to help employers have access to short term loans in order to retain and create jobs. She sponsored the Entertainment Economic Development Legislation that created thousands of jobs for Floridians who were paid over $485 million in wages. She secured over $183 million for many road projects, health, education, social programs, water, and environmental projects in northeast Florida and was successful in securing much needed funding for library construction in northeast Florida, increased funding for education, as well as statewide dollars for the Boy Scouts Learning for Life program and the Girl Scouts Character Education program.
She passed legislation that appropriated an additional $1.9 million to the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development for fiscal year 2007–2008. These funds were for the sole purpose of implementing and administering the Black Business Loan Program. The legislation also helped to establish partnerships between the public and private sector to leverage state funds and other resources from the private sector.
She obtained $10 million to build Florida State College at Jacksonville Aircraft Services Educational Facility located at Cecil Field. Obtain $150,000 for Project Reconnects Habitual Misdemeanor Offender Program to help reduce the revolving prison door of offenders. Additionally, Jennifer sponsored legislation to bring more flexibility to how school districts and law enforcement administer the Florida's Zero Tolerance policy. The bill revised criteria for reporting acts to law enforcement and encourages school districts to use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement. It further stated that zero tolerance policies should be applied equally regardless of economic status, race, or disability. Jennifer sponsored language in a committee bill to remove a provision in Florida Law that fined Florida motorist for affixing any device such as a GPS to their interior windshield. And she passed a domestic violence legislation that significantly increased penalties for anyone who trespassed at a domestic violence shelter. This safe shelter bill is designed to keep abusers away from those they have victimized by making the shelters more secure.
Jennifer sponsored a $203 million jobs package to provide tax credits to encourage companies to hire Floridians who were out of work. Some of the incentives included improving the Qualified Target Industry Program to provide tax refunds to businesses that committed to create a certain number of higher-wage and higher-skilled jobs for Floridians.
She passed legislation establishing a public private partnership to construct an outer beltway from Jacksonville Florida to St. Johns County, Florida. The opening of this roadway artery will enhance economic development in three counties, relieve traffic congestion and create another access for hurricane evacuation.
Jennifer also served as Deputy Majority Leader from 2003-2004, Majority Whip from 2004-2006, Vice Chair of the Transportation and Economic Development Committee 2003-2004, Chair of the Finance Committee from 2006-2008 and Chair of the Economic and Development Council from 2008-2010. Jennifer was elected Chairperson of the Clay County Legislative Delegation in 2005 and 2009 and Chairperson of the Duval County Legislative Delegation in 2010.
Jennifer was the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, Executive Director appointed by Governor Jeb Bush. She was responsible for the claims and benefits of over 1.8 million veterans. Under her leadership, more than $63 million in retroactive compensation was awarded to Florida's veterans. She lobbied for the retention of state construction funds for the Bay and Charlotte County State Veterans' Nursing Homes and led the generation of two federal matching grant applications that resulted in $15 million of federal funds for these projects. Jennifer also cut the department spending by 12% in one year. She was also the Chairperson for Florida's Council on Homelessness. Jennifer sought ways for Florida to provide enhanced services toward solving homeless problems in the state, particularly within the veteran's community. She also worked closely with the Department of Veterans' Affairs to secure Jacksonville as a site to receive a national veteran's cemetery. Jennifer spearheaded a campaign to raised funds, sought legislative approval for the monument, and obtained approval from national WWII monument architects to use the same stone and design to erect a scaled down replica of the national monument. This enabled the state to erect its first official WWII monument to honor the greatest generation from Florida.
In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Jennifer to "The White House Presidential Scholar's Commission," where she served until the spring of 2004. In May of 2004, President Bush appointed her to the “Veterans' Benefits Disability Commission,” where she served until October 2007. In 2018 Jennifer was appointed to the American Battle Monuments Commission by President Trump, where she served until January 2021.
After graduating from Uniondale High School Uniondale, New York, she enlisted in the United States Navy in 1979. Jennifer rose through the ranks of an enlisted Jet Mechanic E-1 to retire as a Lieutenant Commander Aviation Maintenance Officer after 20 years. During her time in the Navy she was awarded numerous awards that include: Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Award, three Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbons, U.S. Coast Guard Operations Ribbon, Navy "E", Good Conduct Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, two Navy Volunteer Service Medal, two Sea Service Ribbons, Overseas Ribbon, Navy Recruiting Service Ribbon, two Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbons, and an Expert Pistol Medal.
Jennifer received the following awards: 2018 State Senate of Florida Life Time Achievement Caribbean Award, 2017 Caribbean American Heritage Trail Blazer Award, 2016 Black Americans For A Better Future Trailblazer Award, 2015 Torch Award in Politics by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, 2014 Virtuous Woman Award by The Community Arts and Culture, World Trade Center Miami - International Women's Day Award – 2013, Boy Scouts of America - Twelve Points Award – 2013, The Grio Top 100 People Making History Today - Class of 2012, Distinguished African American Woman of Florida Award - The James Weldon Johnson Branch Association for the Study of African American Life and History – 2012, Key to the City - City of North Miami – 2012, and Honorary Doctorate Degree from St. Leo University 2012, Honorary Degree, Doctor of Laws - Saint Leo University - 2012 and Associate in Science, Honoris Cusa - Miami Dade College – 2012 and The National Black Chamber of Commerce 2011 Trailblazer of the Year Award.
Clay County Chamber of Commerce Military Person of the Year, Orange Park Rotary Club Citizen of the Year, Florida County Veterans Service Officers Association Legislator of the Year, YMCA Black Achievers Award recipient, First Coast African American Women Award, Vikki Buckley Political Leadership, and Faith and Family Award from the Christian Coalition of Florida.
Jennifer was Chairman of the 2004 Republican National Convention Committee on Permanent Organization, Delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention, 2005 Elector of the Florida Electoral College, 2012 Member of the Republican National Convention Credentials Committee and Delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of New Mexico and a Master of Business Administration from St. Leo University. She is married to Nolan Carroll of Miami Florida for 37 years and they have three children, and two grandchildren.