State Attorney Aramis Donell Ayala, Uniquely First

By Sharon Fletcher Jones

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State Attorney Aramis Donell Ayala’s story is one for our history books.  Correction: her-story books.  She is the first African American ever to be elected to the position of top prosecutor in a Florida judicial district.  In fact, on election eve with only Orange and Osceola counties reporting, Ayala had garnered more than 90% of the vote.  While some pundits might argue that the relatively unknown attorney was thrust into the political arena only by a single billionaire’s financial backing others believe her straight forward, no-nonsense approach to the practice of law coupled with a general like-ability had just as much if not more to do with her win.  Nonetheless, the former cheerleader and track runner made her priorities crystal clear during her campaign and continues to do so.

Ayala fought and beat cancer, returned to law school, passed the Florida Bar exam and started an impressive career as an assistant public defender and later as an assistant state attorney under Jeff Ashton (famed Casey Anthony prosecutor and incumbent).  With a platform that promised more transparency and a pledge to reduce the disparities between the state attorney’s office and minority communities, State Attorney Ayala’s work has just begun.

We asked the State Attorney to answer a few questions so that our readers could have the opportunity to get to know her story…better…

To read the full article, pick up a copy of the Mar/Apr 2017 issue of ONYX.