Inspired with strong family values, Jennifer Carroll, 51, was born in Trinidad and moved to New York City with her great aunt and uncle when she was 8, just as desegregation was taking hold. On television, she saw reports about civil rights and Martin Luther King's assassination.
Two years after graduating from Uniondale High School in New York state, she enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1979. After serving as an Aviation Machinist Mate (Jet Mechanic), she was selected for Enlisted Commissioning Program, becoming an Aviation Maintenance Officer in 1985. She retired from the Navy in 1999 as a Lieutenant Commander. In 1981, she received an Associate of Arts degree from Leeward Community College. She followed this in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of New Mexico. She moved to Florida in 1986. She received a Master of Business Administration degree from unaccredited online diploma mill Kensington University in 1995, and then earned another Master of Business Administration degree online from St. Leo University in 2008
"When it really started was when I was appointed as the supervisor in charge of white males," Carroll said. "They felt they should have been in charge rather than me."She made two unsuccessful bids for the United States House of Representatives in 2000 and in 2002. Following her defeat in the 2000 election, she was appointed as Director of the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs serving in that post until July, 2002. She has been elected successively to the Florida House since winning a special election in April 2003, when she became the first African-American female Republican ever elected to the Florida Legislature.
On September 2, 2010, after winning the Republican primary, Rick Scott named Carroll his running mate in the 2010 Florida gubernatorial election. Carroll thus became the first black woman to be a major party candidate for lieutenant governor in Florida's history, and the first black woman on any statewide Republican ticket.