Candidates of Caribbean ancestry win in US elections

By Lincoln DePradine

Wes Moore

Wes Moore and Maxwell Frost – both with Caribbean family ties – are fresh faces to American politics. The two Democrats were among winners in the November 8 United States midterm elections.

“I am so proud to stand with the diverse and dynamic communities that make up the great State of Maryland. But, I have to tell you, I’m specifically and particularly, proud to stand with the Jamaican Association of Maryland because, yes, I am a very, very proud Yardie,’’ said Moore, the new mayor-elect of Maryland.

Moore, 44, is an author, former New York investment banker and retired US army officer whose mother was born in Jamaica. His grandmother, Winell Thomas, was born in Cuba but moved to Jamaica, before immigrating to the United States. Moore will be Maryland’s first Black mayor.

Frost, who won a Florida congressional seat in a district in and around Orlando, was born in the US to a Puerto Rican mother and a Haitian father, but grew up with an adopted mother from Cuba. He is a 25-year-old community organizer enrolled as a student at Florida-based Valencia College.

In the House of Representatives, the average age is 58, with 82-year-old Nancy Pelosi serving as speaker for the last several years.

Frost defeated Republican Calvin Wimbish, 72, to capture the 10th Congressional District seat.

“Central Florida, my name is Maxwell Alejandro Frost and I’m going to be the first Generation Z member of the United States Congress!” Frost told cheering supporters in Orlando on election night. Generation Z generally refers to those born in the late 1990s to the early 2010s.

Maxwell Frost

Anti-gun violence was a focal point of Frost’s campaign. He said that while in his teens, he knew fighting gun violence was going to be his calling after 20 children and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012.

“I started to organize at 15 because I didn’t want to get shot at my school,’’ said Frost. “People are yearning for bold champions who believe in the bold transformational change that we need, that every single person in Central Florida and across the whole state and across this nation deserve, by virtue of being a human.”

The third Black person ever elected as governor of a US state, Moore won by widest margin in any Maryland gubernatorial race in nearly 40 years.

Moore, who was deployed to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2006 and retired as an army captain in 2014, speaking of his team said, “We said during the campaign that we’re going to build an administration that reflects the State of Maryland; that we’re going to build an administration that was going to be remarkably accountable, remarkably transparent, and unafraid to go win the future,’’ said Moore, who has a master’s degree in international relations.

Moore, addressing members of the Jamaican Association of Maryland at an event earlier this year commemorating the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, told them that he was “so grateful to be part of this community’’.

“Today – every day – I’m very, very proud of my history, my culture, where I came from; and, the fact that that proudly runs through me,’’ he said. “I’m so grateful for your work, for the commitment to our communities, to all of our families, to all of our children.’’

The event was held during Moore’s election campaign and he said he was running for governor “to make Maryland the place that lives up to the principle ingrained in me when I led soldiers in combat in the US army – leave no one behind! Together, we can meet this moment and we can make those words the new mission for the State of Maryland’’.