As of today, there is only one black man or woman who holds elected office in Flagler County, and that's Bonita Robinson, who is a city commissioner for the city of Bunnell. On WNZF's "Free For All Friday" this morning, the Rev. Jearlyn Dennie, a black pastor of a mixed-race church called Reverse Church (located in Marvin Gardens), said having more black elected officials would be good for the community.
"If you have just one race that's represented, it's not going to represent the whole community," she said in an interview after the show.
She said Flagler County is a melting pot, with not just black residents but also Hispanic residents of many ethnic backgrounds, so you would think there might be more candidates.
I asked her why there aren't more black candidates, or other minority candidates. She said, "Probably because in the black community, it's always been a notion of a good ol' boy kind of town." The perception among many, she said, is that "you can't be black and win. I don't think it's for a lack of trying."
Whereas the United States voted for Barack Obama, Dennie said, "I don't know if Flagler County is at that point, where we can have minorities in office," although, "we have had some."
She also said that black voters don't vote becuase of race, "but we do weigh it." If a black candidate isn't qualified, she said, "we won't put them in office."
We have had some black candidates of late. Last year, Howard Holley ran for County Commission, and Woody Douge ran for City Council, for example. Previously elected black officials include Holsey Moorman and Bill Lewis, who were on the City Council together a few years ago (although Lewis was appointed and then ran unopposed, so he wasn't ever actually elected); Jim Guines was on the School Board for years, as well.