Jamaican Hazelle Rogers ran a winning re-election campaign and will continue to serve as the Mayor of Lauderdale Lakes in Florida. She was born in Kingston and was the oldest of three children. Rogers migrated to the United States in 1969 to join her mother in New York. She attended New York City Community College, earning an associate degree in 1976. She also attended Pace University. After relocating to Florida in 1982, she became the Secretary of the Eastgate Homeowners Association, and in 1996, she was elected to the Lauderdale Lakes City Commission, serving until she was elected to the state legislature, where she represented District 95 from 2008 to 2016. During her time on the City Commission, Rogers graduated from the University of Phoenix with a business degree in 2003. She did not seek re-election to the legislature in 2016 due to term limits. Her professional experience includes work as a consultant, mortgage broker, and realtor. She has spent more than two decades in public service.
Upon her election to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008, she became the first Jamaican and just the second person from the English-speaking Caribbean to win a seat in that body. She was the Democratic Deputy Whip from 2010 to 2012 and from 2012 to 2016. She successfully saw two of her bills passed in the House during her first year there: one governing transfers of motor vehicle titles in person-to-person sales transactions and one that made significant changes relating to substance abuse and mental health deliverables. In 2014, she passed a bill exempting school districts from liability when they donate food to local charities, and also strongly supported in-state tuition for undocumented students. For this support, she received an award from Broward College. In 2009, Rogers initiated Caribbean Heritage Day celebrations at the Capitol to honor the substantial contributions made by Caribbean Americans to the United States. Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist appointed her to work on the Sunshine Census Statewide Complete Count Committee in 2010, and in 2011, she was a member of a House Redistricting Committee.
Mayor Rogers has received many community awards, including the Florida Association of Counties’ Champion Award for 2014 and 2015; the Jamaican American Bar Association Legislative Award in 2015, and the Florida League of Cities’ Legislative Appreciation Award for four consecutive years from 2013 to 2016.
Rogers believes that her firsthand understanding of the challenges of local government serves her well in her role as Mayor. She notes that in every government position she has been honored to hold, she has served the city of Lauderdale Lakes and remained committed to the needs of its community. She added that she is looking forward to “many more years” of progress in “the gem of a city” of Lauderdale Lakes.