Thriving After Economic Instability
with Bertha Watson Henry, Administrator of Broward County, Florida
"The diversity of Broward County, Florida's population of 1.96 million creates obstacles in providing adequate services. And while this is a challenge, this diversity contributes to making Broward County one of the most appealing places to live, work and play. Bertha Watson Henry, administrator of Broward County, Florida shares how the county has overcome tough fiscal times, and as a result, has led to new industries and development.
Interview recorded November 30, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: After a period of economic instability, Broward County, Florida, is now thriving with new industries and rapid infrastructure development. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Robert Traynham. Joining me is Bertha Watson Henry, administrator of Broward County, Florida. She's also being honored as one of 2017 Governing magazine Public Officials of the Year. Bertha, welcome to the program, and congratulations.
Henry: Thank you.
Traynham: So, as I understand it, you have been in public service now for nearly 40 years, if not longer. What inspired you to stay in this work, to keep doing this work from a public-service standpoint
Henry: Well, I grew up watching the activities of the '60s, and it was a tumultuous time.
Henry: And for whatever reason, I just thought I needed to be a part of change. I need to be a part of making our country a better place for all people.
Traynham: And how many years, specifically, have you been --
Henry: It's over 40. Let's leave it at that. Let's leave it at that.
Traynham: The reason why I ask that question that way is because you keep doing it, and it's one thing to get involved in public service, but to stay in it for this long -- which is an admirable, admirable thing, particularly in this day and age when so many people want to leave public service or, quite frankly, are not inspired by it. So that's a wonderful thing.
Henry: Oh, okay. Well, I am definitely inspired, and what makes life good for you is that you can actually see the fruits of your labor. I get up every day. I'm excited. I look around my communities. I started my career in the city of Miami, and I spent some time in Ohio, and everywhere I went, you know, I felt like I could see the outcome of the work that I was involved in, and that just inspires you.
Traynham: Bertha, walk me through, or us through, specifically what you do on a daily basis. Now, as I understand it, you're appointed
Henry: I am appointed. I have nine bosses, so to speak, nine county commissioners. I have a wonderful team of about 6,000 employees, and, every day, it's a new adventure, so we really try to make sure that our community is keeping pace with its growth. South Florida's growing like -- It's very rapid, rapid growth, and the infrastructure to keep up with that is challenging, but it's just something that we -- we strive to do everyday.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up six percent of the U.S. population, but is growing more than four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. Asians are the largest group of immigrants to enter the U.S. as immigrants. A conversation with Janelle Wong, Senior Researcher at AAPI Data
about the fastest-growing but one of the understudied racial groups in the United States.