I am running for Mayor because I love this city and I truly believe we can do better. My 26-years of experience in the business community, the nonprofit sector and in local government give me the tools I will need to find creative and effective solutions to our most pressing problems. I know how to build a team that is second to none and we will tackle the tough issues together - with courage, with integrity and with the best interest of our entire community at the heart of every single decision.
We must decide if we are satisfied with the status quo or if we are ready to take
Jacksonville in a new direction. It is time for us to stand-up to the career politicians and
government insiders. It is time for a leader who knows the challenges of making a
payroll; who has experience managing a large staff and budget in tough economic
times; and, a leader who understands the day-to-day operations of local government.
When government is an obstacle to progress, communities come to a halt. We need to
rebuild trust in government with integrity and transparency, as well as place a high value
on ethics. We also need to remind people of the reasons to celebrate our community
and leverage our assets in order to move the city forward. Most importantly, our Mayor
must be listening to all and represent every citizen of Jacksonville.
I believe that Jacksonville is poised for greatness and ready to embrace a new vision.
We have all of the building blocks in place to make our City great and the opportunity to
choose our future. We need to capitalize on our assets like our deep-water port, our
first rate health care system and our strong military presence to create jobs and get our
economy going again while attracting a stronger manufacturing base.
Jacksonville has been my home for nearly three decades. My four children were all
born and raised here. I want Jacksonville to be a city that our children are excited about
returning to after college to find jobs, launch successful careers and raise their own
families. If we start working together now, Jacksonville will be that city - a city that
young people come to for jobs; a city with an outstanding public education system; a city
with a vibrant downtown; a city with a thriving entertainment district; a city that optimizes
its amazing riverfront; a city considered a prominent tourist and convention destination;
a city where businesses look to relocate and expand; a city with a government that
works with all of its citizens to reach its vast potential; a city of pride.
When Iʼm out on the campaign trail, people tell me that they've never been involved in
local politics before, but they have figured out that it matters who we elect. They have
learned that not all candidates are the same and that qualifications and experience
matters. In my career, I have had the unique opportunity to work with many amazing
people in all three sectors the areas that I believe drive our quality of life; public,
private and not-for-profit sectors. As the only candidate with leadership experience in
each of these three sectors, I am uniquely qualified to be the next mayor.
My experience as a prosecutor in the State Attorneyʼs office, as a business owner and
during my time working for two of our City's finest Mayors: Mayor Ed Austin and Mayor
John Delaney, have all provided me a balanced perspective that has prepared me to
enter City Hall on day one and hit the ground running.
Of the many issues facing our city today, three of the most serious facing our citizens
include: Education, Jobs and Quality of Life. Having a high quality public school
system is a critical factor in bringing new jobs to Jacksonville. Education is a top priority
for me because when companies are looking to relocate, their number one question is
about the quality of our local education. When EVERY child has access to a quality
education, crime declines, property values increase and employment options grow.
Access to a quality education and gainful employment provide a hopeful future.
We must think outside the box, and partner with community groups and businesses to
embrace a culture of learning. The wall between city government and public education
needs to come down and we all need to work together for the benefit of every child in
Duval County. Strong schools build strong neighborhoods and when neighborhoods are
safe and prosperous, our community thrives.
The most successful leaders throughout history have not only been prepared personally
and professionally, but have also inspired and brought together talented people, from all
walks of life, to work as a team to tackle the most challenging issues. For the past
several months, I have organized six policy groups that have been meeting on a regular
basis to discuss priorities and creative solutions to our Cityʼs most challenging issues.
These groups are made up of over ninety experts in their field from across Jacksonville,
coming together to offer their ideas and solutions. From here we will move to a larger
community conversation and I look forward to leading this effort.
Over the next four months, many mayoral forums and debates will be held throughout
the city. I encourage everyone to attend or watch. Itʼs important to hear every
candidate speak and listen to her or his vision for Jacksonvilleʼs future. The forums and
debates will also provide more time to delve deeper into some of the bigger issues that
face our community.
From the start, I promised to run a different kind of campaign for Mayor, a campaign that
was not based on political party or special interest, a campaign that was based on
integrity, transparency and ethics. A campaign where we said what we mean and mean
what we say. And, I am proud to report that we have been successful with this effort.
We have supporters from all political parties, all ages, races and neighborhoods from
across Jacksonville, people who are truly excited about a campaign that is by and for
the people. And, that is exactly how we will run city government.
I invite everyone to be a part of our exciting campaign and join our team. I also
encourage everyone to vote in the first election on March 22, 2011 because it matters
who we elect. I want to be your next Mayor and I am ready to make the tough decisions
that need to be made and take our city in a new direction. Join me at the polls on March
22 and letʼs be a part of making Jacksonville history. Letʼs work together to bring a new
era of trust, ethics, growth and opportunity to our City.
I welcome the chance to discuss the important issues with the readers of Metro Jacksonville and to seek their support, trust and vote on March 22nd.
Letʼs all look back on this election as the turning point to Jacksonvilleʼs bright future.