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Profile in Deceit: Florida State Representative
John Patrick Julien

October 2, 2012

By Hudes Desrameaux

Special to Le Floridien

When the doors to the cavernous Bank of America Stadium or Time Warner Cable Arena swung wide open to receive the buoyant throng of attendees to the Democratic National Convention, Commissioner Jean Monestime of Miami-Dade County District 2 was one of them.

There was more to his presence in Charlotte, North Carolina: Mr. Monestime held one of the votes that nominated Joe Biden and Barack Obama as Vice-President and President on their way to a fierce struggle against a Republican ticket whose motto seems to be: We will not build that if it doesn't help the rich get richer.

Haitian-American Jean Monestime just started his third year on a 4-year term on the Miami-Dade County commission. He will lead a business development mission to Haiti in about a month to stimulate trade between both parties or encourage economic investment in Haiti.

Tough task but that's what all of us expect from Commissioner Jean Monestime: parlay any platform to ameliorate lives – here in this community and over there in our beloved Haiti.

The stars aligned for Jean Monestime two years ago when he challenged Dorin Rolle, a powerful African-American (by way of the Bahamas) politician for this seat on the Miami-Dade County commission. Jean won as much for his ability to leverage his innumerable strengths as for the fact that Dorin Rolle was embroiled in a swirl of controversies that left him prone to defeat.

2014 may be far but not far enough for Commissioner Jean Monestime to position himself for his reelection fight that promises to be tough and bloody. This is the inescapable truth: for Jean to win a second term he may need the support of some powerful leaders in the African-American community who can convince a sizable number of their constituents that it's OK to vote for a Haitian-American even if there is a credible African-American in the race.

If the last round of elections in Miami-Dade County tells us anything, it's this: some of our political choices did not help in making this cross-over possible.

Take the election pitting US congresswoman Fredericka Wilson against Haitian American Rudolph Moise. Unless the incumbent did something terrible, he/she always wins these congressional races. Fredericka Wilson, a former board member with the Haitian Refugee Center, is a tremendous candidate who has a long, illustrious political and professional career in Miami-Dade County.

Of course, President Martelly further inflamed things when on a popular radio station in Miami he urged the Haitian American community to come out en masse for Dr. Moise – an egregious intervention of a foreign leader in the internal affairs of a community. This stand by President Martelly infuriated beyond measure the African American community.

Moise had no business challenging incumbent Wilson. His candidacy seems to have further fractured the two communities and unnecessarily put the Haitian American community on a collision course with the African American one. We need to be patient and crawl before we start walking.

The other election worth mentioning is the one between state representative and African American Barbara Watson and Haitian American John Patrick Julien, another state representative. Barbara Wilson won by less than 20 votes. Julien is challenging the result.

Mr. Julien should have lost by a wider margin. There was no valid reason for our community to come out in such great numbers for Julien. The latter had a clear vision when he went to Tallahassee as a democrat: he was going to hitch his political destiny to the Republican Party and brazenly advance the insane Republican cause.

Just to name a few of his votes: He voted against public funding for abortion, voted to deny Food Stamps to poor women who test positive for illegal substances, asked the state to randomly test for drugs state employees, voted for a bill that allows folks with a concealed weapon permit to briefly and openly display their weapons and voted against Cap and trade, the bill for a cleaner atmosphere and environment.

He even signed Grover Norquist's crazy pledge not to raise taxes under any circumstances, something that most Republicans in the state legislature refuse or have yet to sign.

Let me repeat: this guy voted for poor women (and eligible men) to pay for a drug test that, if found positive, would disqualify them for a period of time from receiving Food Stamps to feed their children. This guy voted for the right of a person sitting at a Sant la or FANM gala or any other gathering to briefly place his weapon on the table and go about his business. (I can't imagine a woman being that crazy.)

These are classic tribal and cruel Republican positions that John Patrick Julien shamelessly voted for. Betrayal of the highest order!

Such abrasive, abstruse voting record should have earned Mr. Julien a well-deserved defeat. This guy is a political fraud, la bête noire of the Democratic Party in Tallahassee. By siding with Julien, our community voted against its own interest and lost a golden opportunity to reach out to an African American candidate who holds democratic values and doesn't vote against poor people.

Standing behind self-serving politicians undermines communities and their progress. It also destroys bridges and tears connections – tools that could help us do bigger and better things at the most opportune moment.

Hudes Desrameaux

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