Former state prosecutor Berny Jacques announces run for state house
Former state prosecutor Berny Jacques announced Wednesday that he is running for Florida House District 66.
The seat is currently occupied by Larry Ahern, a Republican who will hit his term limit in 2018. The district covers parts of Clearwater, Largo, Seminole and several central Pinellas beach towns.
Jacques, 29, said Wednesday that he is running as a Republican to preserve the opportunities he's encountered since his family settled in Florida after fleeing political unrest in Haiti in 1994.
"It was a natural thing for me to look at with my passion for public service," he said. "What drives it is the opportunities that I had growing up in this state."
Jacques, a Seminole resident since 2015, studied history and political studies at Washington Adventist University in Maryland, during which he interned for U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart. He then moved to Gulfport to attend Stetson University College of Law.
Jacques went on to work as an assistant state attorney in the Pasco-Pinellas State Attorney's Office. In December, he went into private practice with St. Petersburg-based Berkowitz & Myer, he said.
Jacques is involved in several community groups, including Pinellas County Young Republicans, the Sheriff's Advisory Board and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also started the Young Floridians for Opportunity political action committee.