JACKSONVILLE, FL—Today, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown previewed the second debate of the general election and offered a state of the race one week before Election Day. Brown was joined on the press conference call by Eric Smith, Jacksonville’s former city council president; chair of the finance committee; police advisor; and president of the Florida League of Mayors. Together, they drew stark contrast between Brown’s record of working across the aisle to grow Jacksonville’s economy—with Curry’s record of playing partisan politics and opposing efforts to ensure opportunity for all citizens.
Brown’s prepared remarks can be read in their entirety below:
Thank you everyone for joining us today, the afternoon before our second debate, and a week before Election Day.
This campaign—like every campaign—has been a trying experience. But it’s also been one of the most rewarding of my life. I don’t regret any voter I’ve met with, or any conversation I’ve had.
The citizens of Jacksonville work so hard and contribute so much to their communities. All they ask for in return is a mayor who will fight to give them the opportunity to succeed:
Safe neighborhoods; and
Good jobs at a fair wage.
Four years ago, I made promises to you, and I am happy to say that I’ve worked with Democrats and Republicans to deliver on those promises—the reason I am endorsed by Bill Bishop.
Since I’ve taken office: we’ve created 36,000 new jobs; cut unemployment in half; downtown is booming; and Jacksonville is the #2 city in the country to find a job.
None of this happened by accident. It obviously took hard work and commitment. But it also took a shared vision between my administration and the people of this great city.
In the last four years, and especially the last several months, they’ve shared with me their hopes, their concerns, and their beliefs for what Jacksonville should be.
They want a 21st century city without partisan politics and where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
These are the key dividing points in this election. I have a proven track record of working across the aisle to move Jacksonville forward. I also believe we need to do everything we can to give our citizens the opportunity to succeed.
My opponent, on the other hand, hasn’t proven that he shares these same values. As Chair of the Republican Party:
He fought efforts to raise the minimum wage.
He fought legislation that would ensure women get paid the same as men.
He took campaign funds from the same people who are polluting the St. John’s River.
He fought to make it more difficult for Florida citizens to vote.
And he actually fought to lower the minimum wage.
Even further, Lenny Curry helped elect the same City Council that slashed funding for the Jacksonville Journey. Yet he never said a word.
Lenny Curry also helped elect the same state legislators who are stalling a compromise on hospital funding. Unless action is taken by July, UF Health will be forced to shut down; 5,500 Jacksonville workers will lose their jobs; and the health and safety of our citizens will be jeopardized.
But once again, Lenny Curry is missing in action. He’d rather risk the wellbeing of our own citizens than challenge those within his own party.
Let me make it clear. If I should be judged based on my four years in office, then Lenny Curry must be judged based on his years as party chair. My career of public service is a reflection of who I am and what my priorities are. Just as his career of partisan politics is a reflection of who he is and what his priorities are.
That is why tonight, and for the next week, it’s important that Lenny Curry be held to the same standard that I am.
Can my opponent justify the actions he took as party chair?
At any point during the debate, will he offer a plan that is new and includes actions I haven’t already succeeded in doing? And can he honestly say that Jacksonville’s economy isn’t better now than it was four years ago?
To this point in the campaign, he hasn’t. And if he doesn’t tonight, your viewership deserves to know that.
Otherwise, they won’t have the full facts as they head to the polls. And we can all agree that that is what’s most important.