It's rare that a prize like a seat in Congress opens up with no incumbent running, and when it does, candidates turn out in droves.
Another candidate is announcing his intention to seek the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
The 17th Congressional District includes part of Southeastern Broward.
Here's the press release from the latest, Roderick D. Vereen:
Prominent attorney Roderick D. Vereen has announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives Florida District 17 seat that U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-17) is vacating to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010. District 17 includes numerous communities throughout Broward and Miami-Dade Counties: Pembroke Pines, Pembroke Park, Hollywood, Miramar, Hallandale, Miami Gardens, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-Locka, Miami Shores, Biscayne Park, El Portal, and Downtown Miami.
“Although I am proud to say that I have lived in District 17 most of my life, I am exhausted with watching the people in my community getting the ugly end of the stick,” said Vereen to the crowd of influential community leaders, long-time friends, and family members who gathered at the official campaign kickoff reception in Coconut Grove, Fla.
The Democrat said his platform will focus on using his legal experience to bring social change, fight political corruption, and creating government accountability. “My district is severely infected with crime, unemployment, poverty, as well as high property taxes.
It’s an atrocity. I foresee change in my form of new politics. The current economic climate has left the region depressed and residents are in dire need of support and hope. The people deserve better than business as usual,” said Vereen.
“What saddens me the most is millions of dollars from government programs dedicated to improve the impoverished areas across our great cities haven’t been used properly. The money has either disappeared or gone into the pockets of companies outside the empowerment zone. These corrupt practices have gone unchallenged for decades. My intent is to make a powerful impact within the political arena to influence change,” said Vereen.
Vereen first announced his intent to run during the Haitian Lawyers Association banquet in February. A skilled lawyer who handled numerous corruption cases, Vereen said his campaign will focus on following the money trail and making strives to ensure that those who need it will get it. “Most importantly, the people have a right to know what’s going on and how their money is being spent. I have never backed down from a fight and I will fight for District 17,” he said.
During his distinguished legal career, the Democratic party candidate focused on federal and state criminal law, Vereen has handled dozens of high-profile cases in the region including:
• State v. Alexander Bedford - A Miami juvenile charged with the
murder of his mother.
• State v. Lionel Tate – Juvenile charged with armed robbery and
the violation of probation in murder case.
• U.S. v. Stanley Phanor – The Liberty City Seven and Liberty
City Six, a federal terrorism case.
Vereen was an Assistant State Attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit and later became the first African-American Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Florida, in Pensacola, Fla. He was also an adjunct professor at Florida State University’s School of Criminology and Florida A & M University’s School of Criminal Justice.
In 1989, he was voted “Professor of the Year” at Florida State University’s Panama City campus.
Vereen serves on the Federal Criminal Justice Act Committee and the Committee on Admissions, Grievances and Peer Review. He is a past president of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association (formerly known as the Black Lawyers Association) and is a member of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation; the Fellows of the Dade County Bar Association; the Federal Bar Association; the Dade County Bar Association; Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International; At-Large Member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); a Silver Life Member of the NAACP; a Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated; Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Inc.; 100 Black Men of South Florida; Seminole Lodge # 291, Prince Hall Masons and Kazah Temple #149 (A.E.A.O.N.M.S) Prince Hall Shriners.
Vereen earned a law degree from The Southern University Law Center and received a bachelor of science degree in Criminology from Florida State University. He is a member of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Carol City, Fla.