Author Topic: Draft of Inaugural Remarks by Mayor John Peyton  (Read 1075 times)


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Draft of Inaugural Remarks by Mayor John Peyton
« on: July 03, 2007, 07:49:22 AM »
The Florida Times-Union

July 2, 2007

Draft of Inaugural Remarks by Mayor John Peyton

July 2,2007

Kathryn, Mike, Ia, Trevor, Mother and Father

Friends, family, citizens of Jacksonville:

Good afternoon. Thank you for being here. Today is a special day for me, and it means a lot to have you here.

I am humbled and honored that the citizens of Jacksonville ... the greatest city in America ... have given me the opportunity to serve another four years as mayor.

As I begin my second term ... my SECOND four years ... I want you to know that your help and support over the LAST four years have meant a great deal.

[... But don't relax -- you are not off the hook!] I will continue to look to you for advice and assistance

Four years ago, I made the move from private sector to public service.

I pledged to grow our city's economy and quality of life.

To bring a business mentality to city government.

And to be a good steward of our dollars,

I have kept those promises.

I have worked hard.

And I have given you my best.

Sometimes, even my best wasn't enough! ... But I learned from those experiences and we keep working

In return, I have received more than I could have imagined.

The past four years have been the greatest of my life.

I've had the opportunity to serve.

I've learned a lot.

I've grown as a person and a professional. ... And as Kathryn said -- I've been introduced to the joys of family life!

[... It has been a busy four years!!!]

I'm glad to still intact to tell about it!

I've also had the chance to work with exceptional people. On my staff. In our city government. And throughout the community.

Every single day, I have been inspired by the people around me.

When I entered office in 2003, I believed we could live within our means.

I still do.

I believed we could save money by streamlining government.

We have.

I pledged to increase public safety. We did. I said my top priority was growing our economy and creating jobs. It was.

.. And four years later ... IT STILL IS!

A strong economy, coupled with rising income not only organically grows the tax base but also cures many of the social ills government tries to mitigate every day.

I'd like to repeat what I said in my first inaugural speech

- Jobs help hold families together

- Jobs help hold neighborhoods together

- Jobs can make health care more affordable

- And help keep our streets safe

- Jobs do more than any government program or subsidy can ever do.

Over the past four years we have aggressively and successfully recruited businesses to our region,

Since the Super Bowl, more than two dozen companies have wither expanded or relocated their operations to Jacksonville.

Many of those businesses will hire Jacksonville's people at wages significantly higher than our average wage.

I am especially proud of that.

Over the past four years, we have aggressively and successfully recruited businesses to our region.

Since the Super Bowl, more than two dozen companies have either expanded or relocated operations in Jacksonville. Many of those businesses will hire our people at wages significantly higher than the Jacksonville's average wage.

I am especially proud of that.

Working with our partner, the Jacksonville Port Authority, we are also opening up an East-West trade lane. This is a tremendous development and brings with it more high-quality jobs. We have the potential to make Jacksonville the third-largest port on the East Coast in the next 20 years.

And I will do all I can to make that possibility a reality.

Another economic engine that's revving up is Cecil Commerce Center. The people have spoken and this great asset will continue to complement our port AND make us competitive in the aerospace industry.

We have already seen early successes and, working with Council President Davis, we will see more are on the horizon.

The bio-tech/health sciences industry is growing in Jacksonville, too. Enhanced by the University of Florida's presence here with Shands Jacksonville which is a major catalyst.

Growing the health sciences field will boost our per capita income, which I believe is the ultimate measure of a city's success.

Earning potential is top of mind when families and businesses consider relocating here. So it is vital to reverse the trend that puts us below the national average for per capita income.

According to a recent study by American Business Journals, we are making progress.

In fact, we're now ranked 29th out of the top 100 American cities with consistent growth in per capita income.

We began tackling this concern nearly two years ago through Blueprint for Prosperity. Partnering with the Chamber of Commerce, we won't back down during my second term.

It's too important.

Another issue we're facing is rapid growth.

More businesses and people equal a greater need for infrastructure and amenities. We've enhanced both infrastructure and quality of life over the past four years.

And we won't lose sight of their importance moving forward.

We know that our quality of life is what differentiates us and is the ultimate economic driver.

It is what makes Jacksonville specialsomething I do not want to lose to unplanned growth, inadequate road systems and poor planning.

We must also remember that our city will be built out in less than 25 years. Thanks to the hard work of my Growth Management Task Force, we have a vision that will take us to build-out and beyond

We MUST grow responsibly with an eye toward job creation and places to grow these jobs and also environmental and recreational land for the enjoyment of our citizens.

I also believe that quality of life is a long-term proposition. That's why I invested a large portion of my first term working for Jacksonville's children.

While you may know me as he business mayor, some of my younger constituents probably think of me as he literacy mayor. I'm proud of both titles! .Because early literacy is the NUMBER-ONE PREDICTOR OF EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS.

And educational success is the #1 predictor for personal income and community per capita.

Said differently, early literacy fosters individual success and regional prosperity.

Through my community-wide early literacy initiative, RALLY Jacksonville! , we have reached tens of thousands of four-year-olds.

We have encouraged their families to get involved.

We have improved the quality of child care, shifting from custodial care to learning care.

And in January, we began providing toolkits to new parents.

As I am learning firsthand, it's never too early to start a child on the path to reading.

And reading doesn't just matter to the economy. Reading affects public safety as well.

The link between reading problems and crime juvenile AND adult -- is well-established. With money getting tighter by the day, these early investments can provide some of the greatest returns on investment we can make..

As I just detailed, my priorities have not changed since I was first elected in 2003.

But some things HAVE changed.

And that includes our city's financial outlook.

Actions taken by our state legislature have put our largest source of revenue at risk. And because we have been responsible.because we've been thriftyolling back our millage rate for the past 12 consecutive years and boasting the lowest rate by 18% if any major Florida city

We have much less atto cut than other cities.

The Legislature has presented us with a new financial reality.

And that is going to be the major challenge of the next four years.

This is not the first time our city has faced budget shortfalls. Previous administrations have also experienced money problems though perhaps not as serious as this one.

Like them, we will work to make the best of a bad situation.

I will have more to say on this topic when I deliver my budget speech to City Council in two weeks.

Know that we are making careful plans for city services in light of recent and impending changes.

And I invite you to join me back at City Hall on July 16 to hear the details.

There's no doubt about it. This financial curveball is a tough pitch for Jacksonville. The next four years are going to be challenging. But as a wise man once said we can't avoid challenges.

All we can do is meet them well.

Even in the midst of this enormously challenging situation, we want to provide quality services to residents of Jacksonville.

And there's some good news on that front. During my first term, we did good work to put Jacksonville on solid financial ground.

We streamlined government and modernized our financial practices.

In recent weeks, we have been working to streamline and reorganize even more. This new financial climate has MADE us consider major changes.

And we will continue to look for ways to increase efficiency and decrease costs.

Most of all, we will work together to make sure that when our children look back at this time in Jacksonville's history, they will say ... We rose to the challenge and met it head on ... with a solid plan for the future.

The people of Jacksonville have a history of beating the odds.

We beat them with when we consolidated our government in 1968.

We beat them when we eliminated the smell of paper mills.

We beat them by passing The Better Jacksonville Plan.

We beat them by getting a football team and a Super Bowl. And the list goes on and on.

... There is no doubt in my mind that we can beat the odds again.

... And we will beat them for the same reason we've always beaten them.

Our people.

We have the collective will to build an even better


We have been doing this through the decades and we will continue to do so in the future.

As I said earlier every day, I am inspired by the people around me.

The small business owners in our JSEB program.

The code enforcement inspectors who helped save a woman from a burning house.

The parents and children in the Mayor's Book Club.

Our police and firefighters, who put their in harm's way to keep us safe.

And the faith, community and nonprofit leaders who with their care and compassion strive every day to make life better for all of us.

The examples are endless. And they are all around us.

And I will continue to do my best to be a good steward for you, for them, and for our city.

Again, I'd like to thank you for your confidence and support, and for all you do to make Jacksonville great.

I look forward to our continued work together.

God bless you all, and God bless Jacksonville.

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