Dr. J. B. Williams
Northwest Florida Black Business
Investment Corporation (FBBIC)
What Dr. J. B. Williams have to say about Jennifer S. Carroll
I have known you now for almost a decade. One thing that has been consistent in my hearing about and discussing you over that time from supporters as well as those who were not necessarily fans, your word was golden. In my working with you for that same period, you have always been by the letter of the law. You always did your due diligence to the best of your ability and knowledge before you offered your support to anything. I watched your kids as to the kind of people they are and how they responded to you. I found you to be held in high esteem by them. As small kids that may not mean much because most think their parents are super heroes. But when they are adults, it is a different story, as their praise is based solely on merit. I told my wife on several occasions that you were a throw back public servant, meaning that you were truly a civil servant in it for the cause and not the cash. I never saw anything but that. My youngest son was with me on one occasion I had a meeting with you and he commented that your personal cell phone was an old phone, when you had the wherewithal and the position to have warranted the latest smart phone. As a young adult, it impressed him and spoke volumes to your motive for being a public servant. During that same meeting you told those of us who attended the meeting that when you were asked by Gov. Scott to be his running mate, you told him that you had not voted for him. I do not know many in that position who would have been that honest.
In my experience with you, your community was the entire state of Florida as I often said to you. Everything in which I knew you were involved, it benefited all the citizens of the state. Even to the extent of making a case for your community in Washington. Even when you were a Legislator, you led the charge for the "state" and not just your district.
Again, I speak from an almost decade view from a fairly close vantage point. Your being a Republican Legislator spoke volumes as to what I believe to be a very forward thinker. It further demonstrated that you were an individualist who followed your beliefs based on merit, as a person of color. The FBBIB/BBIC program had never had a true ally at any level until you came along. Again, from my own personal experience, you supported this program because you saw it as a necessary endeavor to enhance economic development statewide. That support only materialized after you had an opportunity through audit to see that the operators of this program were credible. This program had been around since 1985 and had only been funded at the tune of $9MM up to the time you became involved in 2006/2007. Starting in 2008/2009 until this current fiscal year 2013/14, you were responsible for convincing both the legislature and the Governor's Office with two audits and successes in hand that the program was worthy of a higher level of funding. Your efforts resulted in approximately $17MM. Almost double the amount that had been appropriated in the 20 years prior. This program has made more than $70MM available in capital funding, which is almost a three to one leverage ratio of those appropriated dollars.
I never knew that you were the Executive Director of Veteran Affairs until the day of your inauguration as Lt. Governor. My wife and I were standing on the Capitol lawn behind two Caucasian men who were involved in an in depth conversation about you in that position and you as a naval officer. We listened very intently and all we heard from them was praise.
I often think about my asking you what your plans were when your legislative term was completed and your reply was, "you were not sure and that you were going to sit on your porch was a viable consideration." Then within weeks you were on a political ticket to be the next Lt. Governor of Florida. I do not think there is anyone in the state who will deny that the victory was not possible without you on the ticket. You were the first "working" Lt. Gov in Florida. Most people never knew who held that office nor their day to day role. But I recall you saying that you told Gov. Scott that you were not coming to the table unless you were allowed to work and not be a figure head or window dressing. Your performance actually changed the way people looked at the Lt. Governor's role in every state. In this office you continued your aggressive push to enhance economic development and job creation throughout the state and played a significant role with the current improved economic picture in Florida. In all, you graced the office.
As to what assistance you personally provided to myself or anyone I know, the reply is simple. You gave me and many others who care about this state hope through your professionalism and honesty at a time when most did not think much of politicians. You gave many of us reason to continue pushing when there was no tangible reason. I never saw you as a politician but "civil servant" who wanted better for the people of this state. As I mentioned to you recently, as long as you are engaged and involved it is making a positive difference for someone or something somewhere.
This endorsement was not difficult to write. It is just a compiling of things I have said to you over the years and thoughts I have shared with my wife and others about you