Roderick Clarke “Always ready, always faithful” Wants To Run Our Port In Palm Beach
You probably haven’t heard much about the Port Commissioner candidates in Palm Beach, but one of the most interesting people on your ballot this November is running to be Port Commissioner in Palm Beach, Group 5.
Meet Roderick Clarke.
Roderick is a veteran who served in the Marines for 32 years, with 27 years in the active component and five years in the Reserves.
A first-generation immigrant born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Clarke came to the United States at 17 and has lived here ever since.
Throughout our interview, he made it clear that patriotism and faith ground his moral compass.
He, like many Americans, remembers where he was and what he was doing on 9/11.
Roderick was a Staff Sergeant in Okinawa, Japan, and remembers preparing his fellow Marines for a potential rapid deployment when he heard that two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. Roderick recalling the motto of the Marine Corps said,
“Always ready, always faithful,”
He said that his time in the Marines prepared him to run for office, saying that it is important to have someone who can “Get ready to fight. It may be a fiscal fight, but we are in the fight of our lives right now. We need to fight for Democracy and for the soul of our people.”
Clarke said that he is running because he has had an interest in politics ever since he moved to Florida 31 years ago in 1991.
“Politics changes the world. There are good political people, and there are bad political people. Right now, we have a lot of bad people in charge of our nation. No good, honest men or women are representing the people. I’m here, and I want to make a difference.”
He further said that he wants to use his position as Port Commissioner to create opportunities for people in Palm Beach. “When I ran the first time, I went out to the Glades and saw homes in dilapidated conditions and no employment. We need to coordinate with the Port Commissioner and elected officials to create more jobs and opportunities in the Glades.”
During an election year where people are focused on the U.S House and Senate and statewide races, some people may not be dialed into local elections. I asked Roderick what a Port Commissioner does and why the position is important.
“The port is a gate. When I was in the military, I helped run a port that brought in 200 ships a day. Our port only brings in 2 ships a day. Right now, there is no transparency in the Port’s finances. Port Commissioners sit on millions of dollars and a lot of jobs. “Where is the money going? Where are the jobs going” He said.
Roderick emphasized the importance of servant leadership in his day-to-day life as a pastor and how it would carry over into his position as Port Commissioner.
“I’ve been a servant leader as long as I can remember. At age 12, I was feeding people in Jamaica during a hurricane that destroyed the island. I’ve always been a lover of people. You need to take care of people, be there for people. When I was in Okinawa, I started a shelter to help homeless people get back on their feet. I don’t think you should give up on anyone or any family” He said.
Clarke acknowledged that most Palm Beach offices are currently occupied by Democrats. I asked him what his message is to moderate Democrats who he is trying to get to switch parties.
“A lot of Democrats are switching parties. The current administration does not care about us. Give Republicans a chance. Under President Trump, our economy was better, whether you were a fan of him or not.”
Roderick said that his top priorities as Port Commissioner are to create term limits for County offices and to get more tenants at the Port to create economic opportunity for people in his community.
I ended our interview by asking him to sum up the most important quality of an elected official in one sentence. At a time when trust in politicians and the media is at an all-time low, he emphasized the importance of honesty.
“Live up to your word.”
Find out more about Roderick Clarke
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