Its time to replenish the pool of young Black leaders

caines | 8/23/2012, 5:30 a.m.

The voters have had their say and a new team of leaders have been chosen to fight our battles at the city, county and state levels. Some of these men and women have been on the political battlefield before. They have witnessed the madness that sometimes occurs at City Hall, the County Commission board room and Tallahassee. Others will experience the challenges of political office and take their respective seats for the very first time including Kionne McGhee, Sharon Pritchett and Oliver Gilbert. Then there are those who have become fixtures in office that have convinced the voters that they deserve another chance to serve: Frederica Wilson, Dennis Moss, Barbara Jordan and Katherine Fernandez Rundle. Hopefully they will all remember the communities that they represent the people from their districts whose lives, needs and futures now rest in their hands. And then there are a few races that have yet to be decided the county commission showdown between incumbent Audrey Edmonson and the young, upstart from Miami Northwestern, Keon Hardemon. We cant wait for the debates and forums that will feature these two candidates as they slug it out for right to represent Liberty City. But as much as these elected officials and candidates deserve our congratulations, one has to wonder what young men and women are waiting in the wings. Whos being trained, advised and groomed to take over when our current officials step down, move on or are no longer desired by the voters? This is the challenge that we face in the Black community. We rarely mentor others so that there is a competent, capable ram in the bush to take over when the time is right. But we must start this process if we dont want to lose ground in Floridas political sweepstakes. White politicians have been doing it for generations. The Latino community, especially Floridas Cubans, has caught on quickly and is laying the path for its own leaders of tomorrow preparing them at every step. But for some reason, we just arent following suit. Are we running out of talented Black leaders or are we simply unwilling to give young hopefuls a helping hand?