Chester Bishop has always been interested in politics. As a young boy in his native Jamaica, he wanted to be Prime Minister. After moving to the U.S., he ran for the City Commission of Hollywood. Just 21 at the time, Bishop lost that election and thought, “Maybe running for office isn’t necessarily for me.”
It would be more than 20 years before he put his name on another ballot, but his second election was a success. Bishop was voted onto the Board of the Florida HBPA in 2011, and has been a mainstay ever since. He currently serves as the organization’s first Vice President.
“I would go to the horsemen’s meetings and speak out,” he recalled. “I could see things going downhill at Calder and I wanted to see things get better – the racing, the facilities. People asked me, ‘why don’t you run for the Board?’ I ended up running and getting elected.”
South Florida racing has faced its challenges in the 10 years that Bishop has served on the HBPA Board, but there have been changes for the better.
“It was always a little more difficult working with Churchill Downs,” Bishop said. “We don’t always agree with the Stronach Group, but they are now the only game in town, and it has been easier to negotiate on many things. That has been the most positive change.”
Much of Bishop’s life has been dedicated to making things better for his community.