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Jamaican eyes history as Florida mayor

Published:Monday | September 28, 2020 | 12:15 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer

Jamaican Kay Maragh is hoping that she will be the first woman, person of colour, and Caribbean immigrant to be elected mayor of Palm Bay in Florida.

Maragh, a registered Democrat, will face off against a Republican opponent on November 3.

The mayoral aspirant was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but moved to St Mary with her parents before later settling in Ocho Rios, St Ann. She attended the Oracabessa and Ocho Rios primary schools and, later, Ferncourt High before moving on to Moneague College.

She migrated to the United States in 1998, settling in New Jersey, only to return to Jamaica in 2001, where she and her husband operated their own business in St Ann. In 2009, she resettled in Florida.

Maragh, a real estate agent and small business owner, currently sits on the city’s Community Development Advisory Board and Planning and Zoning Board, as well as serving as vice-president of the Caribbean Sports and Cultural Association of Palm Bay.

The Jamaican said that she decided to jump into the race because the city needed a leader who would take time to listen to, and learn from, the residents.

She is running on a platform of creating affordable housing in the city, providing facilities for arts and cultural expression, and stamping out corruption.

The City of Palm Bay, with a population of just under 117,000, is the second largest city in Central Florida and the largest city in Brevard County in the state.

Maragh has vowed, if elected, to upgrade the police department’s fleet and provide officers with body cams.

The build-out of supporting infrastructure is also close to her heart.

“There has been a focus on housing without concurring infrastructure for the residents of the city. We have many gas stations but few upscale restaurants or shopping areas for our residents to enjoy. I want to change that,” she said.