BROWARD COUNTY – Broward County Mayor Dale V.C. Holness, the first Caribbean American to serve as the mayor of a US county is The Caribbean National Weekly’s Male Newsmaker of 2019.Mayor Dale V.C. Holness was born in Hanover, Jamaica, W.I. on April 2, 1957, and migrated to the United States at age 17. He graduated from Plantation High School, then attended Broward College, where he served on the student government as a freshman senator. He became a general manager at McDonald’s at age 20, and bought his first house at age 22. He became a Realtor in 1983, and started his own real estate company, All Broward Realty, in 1988. The company is currently led by his daughter Richelle Dahlia Holness, one of his six surviving children.His political record is well documented as a Broward County Commissioner representing District 9 from November 2010 to present and during his six years of public service as a Lauderhill City Commissioner and Vice Mayor (2007, 2010).Commissioner Holness’ District represents a population of over 200,000 people located in parts of or all of Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Sunrise, Lauderhill, Tamarac, Oakland Park, North Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes and the unincorporated communities of Roosevelt Gardens, Washington Park, Boulevard Gardens and Franklin Park.In November of 2019, he was unanimously appointed by the Broward Commission to serve as the Mayor of Broward County for a one-year term through to November 2020.He will also be defending his seat in the Broward Commission in primary elections to be held in August 2020.Mayor Holness has often been described as one of the hardest working Broward County Commissioners.He’s chair of the Broward Black Elected Officials. Under his leadership, he has devised the Broward Black Action Plan that focuses on Broward County’s black communities and includes economic development/black business growth, employment, criminal justice, education, housing, transportation and health.He is a visionary and architect for the annual Florida International Trade & Cultural Expo (FITCE), held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale-Broward Convention Center, which attracts international businesses, local businesses, multicultural global trade representatives from over 50 countries, federal, state and local trade agencies, and government leaders from around the world. FITCE was born out of Holness’ belief that Broward County—and Florida generally—has strong potential as an international trade hub selling more goods to the world. According to Holness, “We should be more competitive, especially to countries where we have strong immigrant populations living in the USA.”Holness has also led the effort for a $20 million economic development package and community improvement programs for Central Broward District 9. He significantly increased County Business Enterprise (CBE) participation from 10 to some 40 percent. This was achieved through methods including: the creation of a mentor/protégé program, breaking large contracts into small components, active recruitment of small, minority and women-owned businesses, and removing restrictions that limit the participation of small, minority and women-owned businesses in contracting opportunities. Mayor Holness’ colleagues on the Commission have credited him for his leadership in this regard.Additionally, Holness was Instrumental in passing the Broward County Surtax, a 30-year, one-cent surtax for transportation.The mayor is one of the leaders and organizers behind the Lauderhill Mall Citizenship Drives, with nearly 5,000 citizenship applications processed to date. He plans to step up the citizenship drive significantly this year with general elections due in November.Concerned about the rehabilitation of people with a criminal record he also sponsored the “Ban the Box” ordinance, a law that refrains individuals from being questioned about prior criminal records or authorization for a background check until they are among a pool of potential finalists for particular jobs within Broward County’s government.His other achievements as Broward Commissioner include: Sponsoring the resolution for the expansion of Broward County’s current Living Wage Ordinance; leading efforts to build 120 new single-family homes in the Broward Municipality Services District, and sponsoring an additional Homestead Exemption (from $25,000 to $50,000) for persons 65 and older, allowing for low-income senior property owners to qualify for the extra property tax reduction.He signed $2.6 billion expansion for the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport, $3.2 billion Port Everglades Seaport expansion and $1,750,000 million for the Convention Center and Hotel expansion.Mayor Holness supports capitalizing on Broward County’s geographic uniqueness as the Gateway to the Americas and maximizing its assets in Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.During his tenure as a Lauderhill Commissioner, Holness started the Lauderhill Chamber of Commerce, which currently has over 300 members. He also established The Lauderhill Business Incubator.He is also co-chair of the United Negro College Fund annual fundraising luncheon.The mayor said that as a representative of the residents of Florida his focus will always remain on improving the economy, getting people back to work, increasing opportunities for home ownership and helping those, especially people of color, who are experiencing hard times.He has been relentless, aggressive and strategic in his plan that economic prosperity must include all the people of Broward County. His mission statement and goal as Mayor is to: “Make Broward County a better place for all who live here by empowering our community, strengthening our households and businesses, creating policies that afford access to opportunities and by unifying everyone across racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. We monitor and hold our government accountable.”His 2050 Plan focuses on the theme: Broward 2050: One Community Moving Forward Together with Prosperity for All, with focus on economy/employment, housing and homelessness, education, criminal justice, health, environment and transportation.He is active in many local and international civic organizations including Broward County Children’s Services Board; Haitian American Leadership Organization; HIV Planning Council; Broward League of Cities; Lauderhill Regional Chamber; Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization; Caribbean Democratic Club; Broward Housing Council, Member; Broward Democratic Black Caucus; and is an NAACP Life Member.He is the recipient of numerous awards including: South Florida Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration 2017 Elected Official of the Year; Small Business Advocate of the Year Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce – Minority Business Development Agency; Global Trade Chamber of Commerce’s Global Trade Ambassador of the Year; and the Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence (HOPE), Inc., “Answering the Call Award.”Mayor Holness is divorced, and the father of seven children, including a son who died in 2017. For recreation, he loves dancing to all genres of music and he enjoys playing a game of dominoes.