Simmons to run for PLP in Sandys South
Jamahl Simmons is to stand for the Progressive Labour Party in Sandys South in next month’s by-election.
The Sandys-born former MP and father of two was unveiled as their candidate this morning by party leader Marc Bean at PLP headquarters, Alaska Hall on Court Street.
Mr Simmons said his priorities were helping unemployed youth “who are beginning to believe Bermuda isn’t working for them” and seniors “feeling under siege”.
“This is an opportunity for the people of Sandys South to stand up, speak up and send a very clear message that we reject Bermudians being treated as second-class citizens in our own country,” he said.
“One of the most pressing issues is our young people. They are very frustrated right now. Youth unemployment is very high — young men who have an education and done what they’ve been told they’re supposed to.
“We have to connect with young people and let them know they’re still a part of Bermuda.
“We also have to address the fact seniors have been hard-hit.”
Mr Simmons said he would be a good MP for Sandys because it had “always been and always will be my home, where I learnt life lessons”.
“The people of Sandys South are not just voters to me, they are my classmates, people who went to Sunday School, attended church with me, my neighbours and friends. The Sandys community is family. Our community is one that exemplifies the spirit of Bermuda.
“In the days ahead I’ll be reconnecting with you, getting to know you, letting you get to know me.”
Mr Simmons was a member of parliament from 2002 to 2007 and has served as Shadow Environment Minister, Shadow Minister for Human Rights, Shadow Minister for Transport and Shadow Minister for Race Relations and Economic Empowerment.
He was also chief of staff for former Premier Ewart Brown and press secretary.
Mr Simmons, whose father Lionel was a PLP MP for Sandys North, has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University and is married to Sherri Lynn Johnson, host of the Sherri Simmons Show on Magic 102.7.
“I’ve always had a passion for economic empowerment, particularly for black Bermudians,” he said. “A priority has to be to take care of our people and being a voice for them.”
Mr Simmons will run against the One Bermuda Alliance’s Georgia Marshall, a leading matrimonial lawyer and director with Marshall Diel and Myers.
Mrs Marshall, who has lived in Sandys for 28 years, was unveiled as the party’s candidate by Premier Michael Dunkley at Somerset Bridge yesterday morning.
Mr Simmons said Sandys South residents were not voting solely for individuals, but for parties.
“The choice is not just about individuals,” he said. “The OBA has broken promises repeatedly and that behaviour should not be rewarded.
“If you want to see a country that works for Bermudians, we’re a better choice.”
Sandys South, constituency 33, has been served until now by Independent MP Terry Lister, who is retiring. Mr Lister won the seat as a PLP candidate in 1998.
Mr Simmons said he was “very thankful” to Mr Lister for his service and that he hoped to “lean on his wisdom and experience”.
PLP leader Mr Bean praised Mr Simmons as a “diligent servant of the party” and praised his “positive attitude, team-first approach and strong work ethic”.
“During our time in opposition, he has eagerly placed his hands in the soil and worked tirelessly to help our party reconnect with the people, supporting our MPs, working with our grassroots and our supporters whenever and wherever he has been needed,” Mr Bean said.
“Jamahl Simmons brings to the table over a decade of political experience. He knows the issues, he knows the role and knows what is expected of him, not just from the party, but from the most important people of all — his constituents.
“Even with all of his experience and what he brings to the table, Jamahl is still a young man, with the ability to connect with people from all walks of life and to speak on their behalf.
“This by-election represents an opportunity to send the OBA a strong message. OBA broken promises, OBA deception and OBA anti-Bermudian policies are unacceptable, and a new approach to creating jobs, expanding entrepreneurial opportunities, and creating a fairer workplace is needed.”
The by-election will be held on November 18.
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