Broward County makes history, electing first Black state attorney and public defender

History was made during this election cycle in Broward County.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – History was made during this election cycle in Broward County.

Broward now has a new public defender and new state attorney, the first African American men to hold those positions.

They are both humbled by the results of this election.

Harold Pryor, no stranger to the State Attorney’s Office, is now leading it. He replaces Mike Satz, who held the position since 1976.

“This is a reflection of us as a community in Broward County, that we are evolving, that we are inclusive, and that we are a diverse community,” said Pryor.

Another first, Gordon Weekes is now the first Black Broward County Public Defender.

“I am immensely proud, but more importantly I am humbled,” Weekes said.

He’s been with the office since 1997 and is replacing outgoing Public Defender Howard Finkelstein. Weekes said more work needs to be done in terms of criminal justice reform.

“The large majority of people that were handcuffed in the system looked just like me,” he said. “That was an incredible awakening for me as a young attorney, and it also instilled in me a desire to address the issue.”

Other countywide races saw similar results. Sheriff Gregory Tony remains Broward County’s top cop, winning his first election despite criticism and a controversial past that includes a fatal shooting that left a man dead. Tony was just 14 years old at the time and said it was in self-defense.

The new Broward Supervisor of Elections, Democrat Joe Scott, will now be in charge of elections for the 1.2 million registered voters in the county.

He wants to build off the successes Peter Antonacci had during this election cycle.

“The idea is to get what Peter Anotonacci changed, what can we change, to make it better next time,” Scott said.

Pryor and Weekes said they want to immediately hit the ground running, that there are a lot of reforms and work that needs to be done once they assume their newly elected roles in January.

About the Author:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.