Attorney Byrnes Guillaume has filed to run for Seat 3 on the Loxahatchee Groves Town Council. He will face incumbent Ryan Liang in the March 13 election.
Seat 1 incumbent Ron Jarriel was unchallenged as the filing deadline closed Tuesday. He was automatically deemed re-elected, according to the town clerk’s office.
Guillaume, 37, bought a home in Loxahatchee Groves in March 2006. He lives in town with his wife and child. A former prosecutor in Broward County, he now owns his own law firm.
“I believe I can make a difference,” he said. “All my life I have made a difference. I was a prosecutor at the State Attorney’s Office in Broward County, and that was my first exposure as a civil servant. In that capacity, I helped victims of crime get justice.”
Guillaume said he is running because he would like to bring together the diverse factions in the town.
“I see some of the divisions we have,” he said. “We have people who want developers to come in, and we have people who don’t want development.”
Guillaume said he is a problem-solver. “I am a solo practitioner,” he said. “That’s what I do. I try to solve people’s problems. I want to help. I think Loxahatchee is great the way it is, but I also understand that you can’t stop change, so I’m here to bridge the gap, have a consensus as to what our town will be, and get everybody together.”
Guillaume said he has attended some council meetings, which he found frustrating.
“Frankly, I would go in there, and it was just a lot of people not really listening to one other,” he said. “We have really great people here; it’s a great town. I moved here because I think Loxahatchee Groves is a treasure. People tend to be really good people, and we just need to be able to have someone come in and help each group solve problems. That’s what I was able to do as a prosecutor and what I’ve done as a solo practitioner and as a business person.”
In addition to a law degree from Western New England College School of Law, Guillaume holds an MBA from Howard University. Before he was a prosecutor, he was a financial analyst for United Technology Corp.
Raised in Miami, he spent seven years in Connecticut and lived in Washington, D.C., when he attended Howard University.
“We have some difficult choices to make,” he said. “If I’m elected, I would be the person to have both sides come together and understand that each side has to give and take and come up with an answer that will fit both sides.”
Though he didn’t participate in it, Guillaume said he is familiar with the incorporation effort that led to the town’s creation in 2006.
“My understanding was that residents wanted to be able to have control over their town, and I think it’s a good thing,” he said.
Regarding Palm Beach State College’s decision to locate its fifth campus in Loxahatchee Groves, Guillaume said he wants to get input from residents.
“At this point it appears that there is support, but my campaign is to make sure that the residents have a say-so as to what’s going on in their community,” he said. “It seems that it is a positive thing, and if the residents are supportive of that, I’ll definitely be in support of it. Again, it’s all about making sure their voices are heard.”
Guillaume hesitated to state his personal feelings on local issues, saying they’re not as important as getting resident input. “I’m more about consensus building and problem solving,” he said.
Guillaume said he did not enter the race to scrutinize the performance of his opponent.
“My campaign is not about being critical of the next guy,” Guillaume said. “If he wishes to be critical of me he can. My campaign is about problem solving and being positive.”