In their own words: The 4 candidates running for open Jacksonville City Council seat

Early voting begins on Saturday in the special election to fill the Jacksonville City Council seat that was vacated by the late Tommy Hazouri.

Four candidates — two Democrats and two Republicans — are on the ballot:

Nick Howland | James C. (Coach) Jacobs | Tracye Polson | Howdy Russell

Vote-by-mail ballots are already out, and nine days of early voting begins Saturday and Election Day is Dec. 7.

While the candidates’ parties are listed, since city elections are unitary — all voters cast ballots for any candidate on the ballot.

The winner will become the At-Large Group 3 council member through June 2023 — the remainder of Hazouri’s term.

If no candidate gets at least 50% plus one in the December election, the two with the most votes will advance to a second election in February.

To help inform voters, News4Jax asked each candidate a series of questions about themselves, their top priorities and some issues facing the city.

You can also click here to watch interviews with Polson and Howland on This Week in Jacksonville. Jacobs and Russell will be on this week’s episode of TWIJ, airing Sunday at 9 a.m. on Channel 4.

Scroll down to read the answers exactly as provided by the four candidates.


Party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Executive Director, The Fire Watch (Veteran Suicide Prevention)

Age: 48

Candidate’s family: Wife and 2 boys (ages 15 and 13)

Education: MBA

Political experience: None. However, I served 4 years in the United States Navy, 8 years on Jacksonville’s Environmental Protection Board, 4 years on the First Coast Manufacturers Association board, and 1 year on the most recent Jacksonville Charter Revision Commission.

What do you see as the top three issues facing the city over the next two years?

Public Safety – a recent JSO study found that we are a few hundred officers short of the number necessary to provide safer communities across Jacksonville. This gap will widen as our population swells if we do not focus on it now. I will make it a priority to ensure JSO has the resources it needs to keep our growing neighborhoods safe.
Jobs – we are rapidly approaching 1 million people. We have had great success attracting financial firms downtown. We need to leverage that success and attract manufacturing and logistics businesses as well, with middle class jobs, to keep our economy strong.
Strategic Growth – we have incredible natural resources in the river, the ocean, our marshes and available land. We also have a strong geographical advantages at the north end of the state, at the intersection of 95 and 10. We need to work closely with residential and commercial developers to ensure that we grow in a strategic and planned manner – to improve downtown, repurpose more dilapidated areas of our City, fix neglected infrastructure in our northwest side and exhibit good stewardship in new development. We need a strategic growth plan and good fiscal management.

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How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

I am a Navy veteran, business executive, husband, father, and now the Executive Director …read more

Source:: Headlines News4jax

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