North Miami official runs against Frederica Wilson

Miami Times staff report | 8/7/2014, 9 a.m.

A 31-year old Haitian-American from North Miami seeks to unseat Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, one of South Florida’s most formidable politicians.

Michael Etienne, who is running in the Aug. 26 primary against Wilson, will rely on the support of predominate Haitian-American population in North Miami, one of several municipalities that lies within District 24, which also includes Opa-locka, Miami Shores and Little Haiti and Brickell . The district also extends north to Miramar.



Wilson is a beloved congresswoman with 22 years of political experience. Her name is synonymous with her 5000 Role Models of Excellence program, which she started while she was Principal of Skyway Elementary School. She has served as a Miami-Dade School Board member, in the Florida House and the state senate.

Wilson was elected to congress in 2010 after solidly defeating another Haitian-American candidate, Rudolph Moise in the primary. In that election, Wilson grabbed 35 percent of the vote to Moise 16 percent. Moise lost the race despite having the unprecedented endorsement of Haitian president Michel Martelly. Wilson was endorsed by President Barak Obama. In the general election, Wilson crushed her opponent Roderick Vereen, an independent by taking 86 percent of the vote.

Although Wilson has sponsored many bills in Congress, her political and social activism have kept her name fresh in the public limelight. Her role models programs is being reviewed as a model for Obama’s ‘My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.”

Etienne has been a city clerk for the city of North Miami since being elected to the position in 2011.He served as legislative aide to State Rep. Daphne Cambell for one year. He unsuccessfully ran for the Florida House in 2010. Etienne is an attorney and host for I-Vision TV, a web-based show that spotlights Haitian and Caribbean culture.

In his election bid, Etienne portrays himself as more than liberal than Wilson. Unlike his opponent, Eitenne was against the use of U.S. military force in Libya. He also disagreed with the U.S. government in failing to limit the National Security Agency’s surveillance of Americans.

So far, Wilson has beaten her opponent in fundraising, drawing about $277,000 from political organizations and labor unions. Etienne has political contributions but has spent $20,000 of his own money on advertising.