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Jennifer Carroll Talks Past And Future In Politics, Writing More Books

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Florida’s first Lieutenant Governor under Governor Rick Scott says she wants to set the record straight about certain things that occurred during her time with the Scott administration. It’s all part of Jennifer Carroll’s autobiography—released last month—that she’s now promoting across the state.

In Carroll’s book, “When You Get There,” the Trinidadian native writes about different parts of her life.

“…as far as being an immigrant, being an adoptive child, going into a non-traditional work environment in the military—the challenges that I faced there also, going into politics and challenges that I faced there also in a male-dominated work environment and how I was able to utilize my faith and my strength in God to overcome these barriers and challenges that came my way,” said Carroll.

And, she says she hopes readers can use her story as a source of strength for how to overcome adversities in their life, as she did.

For example, she says after working for the Scott administration for awhile, she began to feel like an “unwanted stepchild,” having to answer to Scott’s staff, rather than Scott himself. She says even the rare direct contact with the governor was unproductive. But, Carroll says it wasn’t always that way.

“At the onset, I was included to be at the table when staff meetings occurred. The Governor appeared to welcome my input,” she added. “But, as his chief of staffs became more entrenched with him and in power with him, they removed me from the table. They removed my input. So, I was getting information second and third hand to know what was going on in the administration.”

She believes even when she was Scott’s running mate, his campaign staff was already looking to undermine her and not run with her ideas, like trying to reach out to black voters. Still, she decided to do some outreach on her own, and she says she helped garner six percent of the African American vote for Scott.

“So, when it came time for the campaign to say ‘well, did it make a difference?’ Heck yeah! We won by 1.2 percent of the vote. Had I not made that extra outreach—which we got Democrat voters, minority Democrat voters to vote for the Scott-Carroll ticket—those voters if I had not made the extra effort, would not have voted for Scott-Carroll, and we would not have won.”

She says that’s part of the reason she was hurt when she was forced to stepped down.

On March 13th, 2013, Governor Scott announced Carroll’s resignation, amid reports she was linked to a veterans charity accused of being an illegal gambling ring.

“Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll consulted for this company in 2009 and 2010 when she was serving in the Florida House of Representatives,” said Scott at the time, speaking to reporters. “FDLE interviewed Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll yesterday related to her work for this company. Yesterday, Lt. Gov resigned in an effort to keep her former affiliation with the company from distracting from our efforts to make sure we do the right thing for Florida families. And, she did the right thing for the state and for her family.”  

Carroll was never found guilty of any wrongdoing, and she feels she deserves an apology from Governor Scott.

“…for a knee-jerk reaction and accusing me in his press release of something I did not do, which was very disheartening and very hurtful to get this level of betrayal, I felt, from him—particularly since I helped you get elected, I watched your back every step of the way, I never let anyone demoralize you and demean you. I stood up and protected and defended you, but yet still, in the moment of when I needed your support and level of protection, you were not there,” stated Carroll.

She says instead of Scott telling her himself, she was told by his “underlings,” and it would have been better if he’d had a press conference standing side by side with her.

“We both could have been at the podium and shared with the public why I was leaving, why I was resigning, why he asked me to resign. This would have been a better optics and truthfulness to the voters. But, it was a standing order with his communications people that I was not allowed to defend myself while I was in office. So, I was a little punching bag,” said Carroll.

And, she says because she was never allowed to defend herself when she wanted to, that several things surrounding her turned into much bigger scandals.

Carroll says she feels these events occurred because Scott and his staff may have already found out that she was planning to leave and not be his running mate again.

“I was not happy in the job, I was not happy by the way that I was being treated by his staff, and I was not happy that I was not getting his support for 1) the work I was doing—appreciation for that and 2) how he was allowing his staff to mistreat me. And, so, I was already geared to not be on the ticket. As a matter of fact, the day that I resigned from office was the day that I received my final resume that I was having redone and updated so that I could look into the private sector for work.”

So, what’s next for Carroll?

“I’m looking at writing another book, actually a couple books: one on parenting and another one on women in their life and having it all or having it most,” she laughed.

She says for now, she’ll continue to promote her book. She’s also been helping other politicians in their races. Carroll is also a political commentator for WJXT Channel 4, a Jacksonville TV station, and she says for that reason, she won’t’ be stating who she’s voting for in the upcoming gubernatorial race.

Meanwhile, following the release of the book, both Scott and his office have reiterated that “Carroll made the right decision for her family by resigning” and they appreciate her service.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.