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Diaz: Why I am Running for City Council

My name is Juan Diaz. I am running for Jacksonville City Council At-Large Group 4. Why are you running for City Council? I've heard that question countless times over the course of my five-month campaign. I'm 34 years old, a newlywed still (at least for another three weeks), why run for office at this time of my life? Because no matter what, there is no perfect time to run for office. There are always reasons not to run. So, I decided to become a candidate for City Council because I don't want to look back 20 years down the line and wonder if I should have. I don't want to reflect and see a man that, during the most critical time in Jacksonville in my lifetime, shrunk back and decided to watch others determine the fate and future quality of life of our city. I want to serve on the Jacksonville City Council because I want this city to be all it can be for my family, and those of others.

Published March 11, 2011 in News      9 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Jacksonville is certainly at a crossroads. Our residents are looking for work, looking for an education, looking for safe streets, and looking for leadership. It is said that you can learn the most about a leader in times of difficulty – and so it will be the next four years across Duval County. I am running for City Council in an attempt to bring to City Hall what I so desperately have looked for in our leaders the time I have lived in Jacksonville: the willingness to make tough decisions; a desire to manage the taxpayers’ money as if it were their own; and the principles, trustworthiness and integrity to be a true representative legislator who listens to constituents and makes decisions in terms of what is best for our city, and not themselves or special interests. Quite frankly, there is no trust or goodwill right now.

During the course of my campaign, I’ve seen and heard many observations about what is wrong with city government. Yet the political will has been lacking to significantly change the landscape at St. James. Too many in town have an interest in leaving it be. In order to address wasteful spending and clear out the cobwebs (and perhaps some skeletons), our city needs bold, new leadership unattached to the special interests that have placed our city where it is today. I can bring that.

I love Jacksonville. I met my bride here, a Jacksonville native. It is a wonderfully pleasant place to live, with an amazing natural landscape of river and beach. It is a city with a rich military history and a NFL franchise. And, it is a city with opportunities to lead. I came to Jacksonville in 2004, and since that time have had a platform from which to dive into community activities. That involvement is due in large part to the fact that our community embraces transplants and young professionals seeking to carry part of the workload in moving Jacksonville forward. This was exciting to me as a young, Hispanic man in a foreign town, willing and able to do that work. In the years since I moved here, I’ve helped found and sustain young professional organizations, served as a member of the Chamber Board, participated in Leadership Jacksonville, and served as a member of numerous other non-profit boards and community organizations. I’ve been appointed to several city commissions. And, I’ve been a mentor and been mentored. We need more of that in Jacksonville.

My parents moved to Florida from Puerto Rico when I was not yet three years old. They do not possess college diplomas, yet impressed upon their five children (of which I am the youngest) the value of faith and a strong work ethic, and the necessity of a college education to getting ahead in our great country.

The drive my parents instilled in me, and the many blessings I’ve experienced in my life, took me to a place I’d dreamed of as a high school senior – graduating from the University of Florida College of Law, excelling academically, and serving in a high position of honor as the Law Review Editor. My legal career since, including work as an attorney for CSX railroad and BAE Systems-Safariland (a military and law enforcement products manufacturer), has given me the professional experience and acuity to handle legislative matters on the Council.

I am prepared for service on the Council, with a balance of experience and fresh, energetic perspective. I’ve seen other cities and decided Jacksonville is the place for me (and now my family). Our potential is boundless with the right leadership. Of course, we all know the heavy issues awaiting the next Council: the need to improve Jacksonville’s unemployment rate by encouraging business growth and not inhibiting it; the budget, and the need to address priorities and eliminate waste; the pension, and the need to keep our city on sound financial ground for the long-term; and safe neighborhoods, which are essential to economic opportunity throughout the city, and to the delivery of quality education for all, to name a few.

My vision for Jacksonville? Plentiful job opportunities and a growing small business base. City leaders who smartly manage taxpayer dollars and do not simply increase taxes or create new fees when they cannot make tough decisions. A port that is the envy of all others on the East Coast. A continued strong military presence. A downtown bustling with activity. Safe neighborhoods and schools where students can learn, and families and visitors can enjoy our beautiful natural environment. A city that can educate, develop, attract and retain the next generation of workforce.

I am mindful and aware of Jacksonville’s history, yet hopeful about what it can become. It is indeed a critical time in Jacksonville’s history. And we all want to be a part of history. That is why I am running for City Council – that, and the reasons stated above. I am Juan Diaz, candidate for City Council At-Large Group 4, and I hope to earn your vote on March 22d or prior to then.

Thank you,
Juan Diaz

For biographical details and more information on my campaign and stances on the issues, please visit our website at For now, I will address the question posed to me.



March 11, 2011, 08:33:00 AM
I've known Juan since I moved to Jax. in 2006....he's a good guy who has been involved with many volunteer organizations....including IMPACTjax (young professional arm of the Chamber) and Big Brothers Big Sisters.....and he understands many of the challenges and opportunities we have in creating a vibrant urban core.

Captain Zissou

March 11, 2011, 09:06:57 AM
I happened to run into Juan briefly at the Downtown Turnaround event at MOSH, but I was instantly impressed by his knowledge of the issues of our city, his enthusiasm for making a difference, and his unique perspective on city government.  Juan doesn't pretend to be anything he's not, but he knows his strengths and he is willing to dedicate those strengths wholeheartedly to the city of Jacksonville.  I trust Juan and believe that he will be a great member of City Council.  I wish him the best of luck, but I know that he will change our city for the better whether he wins or not.


March 11, 2011, 09:38:37 AM
Big Juan Diaz guy here as well!

Very sharp man who is dedicated to doing the right things for our community.  More importantly, he is a leader in every sense of the word.  This city desperately needs good leaders like Juan.

I believe he will be a part of a new set of young leaders who will make this city once again, the Bold New City of the South.


March 11, 2011, 12:49:01 PM
Juan Diaz, I believe is the perfect candidate for city council. He has youth, vison, He'll bring diversity in an otherwise redneck, anti cultured, anti urban, Floridiot city council.

Are at large council candidates voted for city wide? Or are they just larger districts to be voted for in different areas?

Diaz, you've got my vote!

Captain Zissou

March 11, 2011, 01:09:40 PM
^ They're voted for city wide


March 11, 2011, 01:15:20 PM
^ They're voted for city wide

Alright!!! I'm so excited!!! Can we get Cresenbeni, Joost, and Yarbrough out too?!

John P

March 11, 2011, 02:05:17 PM
I like his energy. I've had the opprotunity to hear him speak several times and think he could develop into an effective leader.


March 11, 2011, 05:23:13 PM
I'm on the Diaz bandwagon as well. Sharp guy that we could use on our council.


March 12, 2011, 06:08:14 AM
Juan - I like what I have read about you, although I have yet to meet you.  If you are reading this thread, I have a question for you:

Will you actively support an effort to clean up Hogans Creek and make it into one of the premier urban waterways in the country?  Please take a moment to read through some of the previous threads on the topic.  And by actively support, I don't mean just pat people on the back for a job well done, I mean sponsor legislation that would make this happen.

Thanks for stepping forward and seeking a leadership position in our community.  We need more like you.  You've got my vote!
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