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By Tenley Ross, DVI Intern

With early voting in full swing, we’ve updated the guide of candidates available for your votes for mayoral, city council district and city council at-large elections. All citizens can vote for at-large members regardless of where they live. Courtesy of The Florida Times-Union‘s “Meet the Candidates” Q&As, get a closer look at where candidates stand on revitalizing Downtown below. Early voting runs through May 17 at select locations city-wide, and the general election will be held at all precincts Tuesday, May 19.

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Mayoral Election

 

MAYOR ALVIN BROWN

 

brown1

Bio excerpt: On July 1, 2011, Alvin Brown made history by being sworn in as the first African American mayor of Jacksonville. Since his first day in office, Mayor Brown has kept his word and put Jacksonville first.

Mayor Brown has led with a vision of bringing Jacksonville together — working with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — to create greater opportunities for the city. He has moved Jacksonville forward, and has helped grow the economy, protect taxpayers, and improve education and public safety. Since first being elected, Mayor Brown has put politics aside and has focused on fostering business and employment opportunities for Jacksonville — for which the city has received national recognition.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

Before I was elected, I said a vibrant and modernized downtown would be a priority in my Administration. I’m proud to have kept my word and led the way on revitalizing Downtown Jacksonville during my four years in office. My Administration has worked with Republicans, Democrats, and Independents on making today’s downtown a reality. Downtown is now going through an economic and cultural renaissance. I helped create the Downtown Investment Authority (DIA), which has played a vital and positive role in helping to jump-start downtown development. Thanks to my Administration’s leadership and the DIA’s work, Downtown Jacksonville now has clear momentum. In the last four years, we have partnered with the private sector to achieve significant progress for downtown. For example: The Brooklyn area of downtown has been revitalized since 2011, with a Fresh Market, multiple restaurants, and more than 600 new housing units, which will all have a total economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars for Jacksonville. EverBank has already relocated downtown and Citizens Property Insurance Company will soon be relocating downtown as well — together bringing thousands of new employees to Downtown Jacksonville. We worked with City Council to save the historic Bostwick Building and enable new ownership that will revitalize this critical structure at one of the entrances to downtown, while preserving its historic character. By joining together with a private partner, we have begun to renew the iconic public space at Hemming Plaza to make it safer, cleaner, and more attractive as a venue for community activities.

One Spark has brought national attention to downtown, as has the city’s partnership with the Jaguars in upgrading our football stadium to help attract events from around the globe. As a result of bringing a larger number and more diverse events to downtown venues, over 200,000 more visitors came to downtown in 2013-2014 than in the previous year. The Miami Herald recently said, “Downtown Jax has changed dramatically over the past three years” and “the city core has gone from drab to dynamite.” The Florida Times-Union said it best when they said, “Downtown is roaring to life.” Revitalizing the Jacksonville Landing, developing the Shipyards, and hopefully bringing life back to the Laura Street Trio are priorities for my Administration in taking Downtown Jacksonville to the next level.

I was proud to recently sign the DIA’s redevelopment plan into law, and I look forward to working with DIA leaders, the business community, downtown merchants and residents, the arts and cultural community, and others to help downtown realize its full potential. Over the next four years, I will build on all the success we’ve had over the last four years and continue to invest in Downtown Jacksonville so that it becomes a destination, not a pass-through to other neighborhoods. We can continue to make our city a world-class city, where people want to live, work, and play.

Read the full Q&A here.
View the Supervisor of Elections candidate report here.

1650-302 Margaret St #312
Jacksonville, FL 32204
904-316-4315

Email: mayor@mayoralvinbrown.com
Website: www.mayoralvinbrown.com
Facebook: Mayor Alvin Brown

LENNY CURRY

 

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Bio excerpt: Lenny Curry is a native Floridian, husband, father, Jacksonville business owner and civic leader. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of The University of Florida.

From 1994 to 2002, he practiced as a Certified Public Accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest accounting firm, where he was a Senior Manager in the Jacksonville office. In 2002, he became a job creator when he co-founded a Jacksonville based professional services firm, ICX Group Inc. (ICX), providing finance and accounting consulting, executive recruiting and staffing services. Lenny is currently the CEO of ICX and has since co-founded sister companies that provide various information technology consulting and managed technology services.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

My first and highest priority should be the same for every elected official; the safety of our communities and the families who live here. Right now, every neighborhood is experiencing an increase in crime. Citywide, there are outrageous rises in violent crime, especially. We see reports every day of young people being gunned down in our streets. We cannot expect a vibrant and growing downtown that is connected to thriving neighborhoods if crime is not addressed. In conjunction with my plan for economic development, I will encourage an unprecedented wave of private-sector investment downtown.

Read the full Q&A here.
View the Supervisor of Elections candidate report here.

3428 Beach Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32207
904-994-0298

Email: lenny@lennycurryformayor.com
Website: www.lennycurryformayor.com 
Facebook: Lenny Curry For Mayor

 

READ ALSO: Upswing in downtown Jacksonville: Which mayoral candidate will keep it going? by The Florida Times-Union

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city council

Individual Council District 7

 

REGGIE GAFFNEY

 

Bio excerpt: In 1993, after many years in the mental-health services field, Reggie Gaffney recognized the need to address a highly under served community of disenfranchised people faced with challenges stemming from mental illness, substance abuse as well as HIVjAIDS on Jacksonville’s Northside. In response, he and two co-workers established the Community Rehabilitation Center 21 years ago. Today he is responsible for the supervision of over 110 employees and an operating budget exceeding $ 5 million.

A graduate of Florida A&M University, Reggie leads not only a successful nonprofit organization but its for profit subsidiaries that are currently serving thousands of people in a tri-county area. (Duval, Baker & Nassau)

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
I feel that the current administration and the Downtown Development Board is doing a great job with their efforts to revitalize Downtown. The construction of the Courthouses, both County and Federal, the new City Hall and a host of new restaurants have been a huge draw combined with tax incentives that have been offered for businesses to relocate back to the City’s center such as EverBank. I’ve seen the plans for Mr. Khan’s Riverfront Development Project as well as the Aquarium Project and I look forward to doing my part in making them a reality as it will serve as a significant draw. As a native, I remember when it was a treat to go downtown with my brothers to Sears and get hot caramel corn while my Mother shopped and let us play along the riverfront. It was the center of activity there on the river and it was exciting! With the relocation of the Public Library, Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Farmer’s Market in Hemming Plaza, the Art Walk on the river, I feel that same sense of excitement again today. One of the greatest issues that I feel that we face in keeping the momentum of this transformation is to address the plight of the homeless and indigent that populate the river walk and plaza. In the social service circles, this area is known as “the triangle” due to the proximity of the bus station, jail, Sulzbacher Center and the City Rescue Mission which serves that population. These very individuals that need the most help in turn alienate that downtown draw creating an image of threatening the personal safety of anyone entering the area. Coming from the primary and behavioral nonprofit world, these are the people that we serve on a daily basis with critical lifeline services that lend to their daily stability. Until these individuals are taken care of, all of our efforts to transform downtown will be diminished.

Read the full Q&A here.

5323 Springfield Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32208
904-349-7534
Email: reggie@vote4reggie.com
Website: vote4reggie.com
Facebook: Reggie Gaffney For City Council

 

GEORGE SPENCER JR.

 

Bio excerpt: George is the product of the Duval County Public School system. After High School, George attended Bethune-Cookman University where he earned an athletic scholarship. He graduated with academic honors earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting. After undergraduate studies, George obtained a Master’s degree in Accounting Information Systems from Florida State University. George later completed his legal studies at Florida International University earning a Juris Doctorate law degree.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?
Support the Downtown Investment Authority in their efforts including:

  • Eliminate dead assets
  • Increase retail business presence
  • Increase residential occupants

Read the full Q&A here.

3450 Dunn Ave., Suite 305, Jacksonville, FL 32218
904-859-2373
Email: district7voice@gmail.com
Website: www.georgespencercampaign.com
Facebook: Attorney George A Spencer

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2015AtLargeDistrictMap

Council Group 1 Candidates

 

ANNA LOPEZ BROSCHE

 

Bio excerpt: Anna is a Jacksonville native. She has been with Ennis, Pullman & Associates CPA’S for 11+ years.  Anna has had an instrumental role in building the firm’s culture that is the foundation of 9 local, state, and national awards: the Jacksonville Business Journal’s Best Places to Work, Florida Trend’s Best Companies to Work For, and Accounting Today magazine’s Best Accounting Firms to Work For. She received her education from the University of North Florida with a bachelor’s and master’s degree for accounting.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

We are moving in the right direction regarding Downtown. As our economy continues to expand and property values increase, more funding may become available to help with incentives to invest in Downtown projects and initiatives. Despite crime statistics and reports that show Downtown is one of the safest places in Jacksonville, general perceptions differ. My top priority would be investing in infrastructure and activities to create a Downtown that is a safe and welcoming place with reasons to visit. Additional considerations include: a new convention center, developing a plan for the Jacksonville Landing, about which the entire city can be proud, and exploring opportunities to work with developers and encourage more residential options.

Read the full Q&A here.

5150 Belfort Road South, Building 600
Email: teamanna@voteannabrosche.com
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Website: voteannabrosche.com
904-442-2501
Facebook: vote anna brosche

KIMBERLY DANIELS

 

Bio Excerpt: Education: Florida State University, Bachelor’s degree in Criminology and a Master’s Degree in Christian Education and a Doctorate in Christian Psychology. She is the founder of Operation Boomerang whereby transitional assistance is provided to convicted felons.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

Not answered.

(904) 630-1393
KimDaniels@coj.net.

 

Council Group 3 Candidates 

 

TOMMY HAZOURI

 

Bio excerpt: Tommy Hazouri served for 12 years as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1974-1986, as Mayor of the City of Jacksonville from 1987-1991, and as a Duval County School Board member from 2004-2012.

 What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

First, I must stress the importance of making sure all of Jacksonville’s neighborhoods are safe and livable.

As is the case for all great cities, we need a vibrant downtown. This is the neighborhood that we all share and with proper direction, we can make it the source of our city’s pride.

With mixed use development, we can attract high-paying jobs as well as residential housing and condominiums. Our St. Johns River is a national treasure and the development of waterfront locations such as the Jacksonville Landing and the Shipyards must be high priority.

Read the full Q&A here.

12175 Dividing Oaks Trail West, Jacksonville, FL 32223
Email: hazouri2015@gmail.com
Website: tommyforjax.com
904-655-3525
Facebook: Tommy Hazouri for City Council

 

GEOFF “JEFF” YOUNGBLOOD 

 

Bio excerpt: Geoff Youngblood is the owner of Tools For A Time, Inc., and Turf PAC , two successful Jacksonville companies that provide the sale and leasing of industrial power equipment supporting the Landscape Management Industry and Emergency Preparedness Operations in 22-states. Over the past two decades, these companies have been instrumental in creating thousands of jobs and new businesses throughout Jacksonville and the entire Southeast.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

As one of my priorities, I will support the Downtown Investment Authority as an oversight organization. However, I would like to see downtown development unfold organically in response to market forces, i.e., what the “market” is looking for and will respond to in terms of downtown, as opposed to some kind of master plan that dictates every aspect of redevelopment.

Read the full Q&A here.

11291 Old St. Augustine Road,Jacksonville, FL 32257
Email: geoff@geoffyoungblood4jaxcitycouncil.com
Website: www.voteyoungblood.com
877-753-4010
Facebook: Geoff Youngblood for City Council At-Large Group 3

 

Council Group 5 Candidates 

 

 JU’COBY PITTMAN

 

Bio excerpt:  She holds dual degrees in business administration from Florida State College in Jacksonville (Associate in Arts degree) and Jones College (Bachelor of Science degree). Additionally, she was honored with a Doctorate Of Humane Letters by Jones College and serves as one of the institution’s most accomplished alumna. Ju’Coby has two children and is a member of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

Revitalizing downtown is essential in attracting and retaining its current residents and businesses. We must do a better job of attracting new businesses and supporting existing ones in order to compete with other cities. It’s imperative that we have a top notch public education system, efficient mass transit, sound infrastructure and a high quality of life. Removing the hand-cuffs and providing the resources for the Downtown Investment Board to create and develop the vision for rebranding will be an asset for long term sustainability for downtown. Incentives are an integral part of the economic development process. Our residents and visitors deserve the best.

Read the full Q&A here.

P.O. Box 2028,  Jacksonville, FL 32203
Email: votepittman2015@gmail.com
Website: votepittman2015.com
904-444-0736
Facebook: votepittman2015

SAM NEWBY

 

Bio excerpt: Sam has lived in Jacksonville all of his life and has been actively involved with the community for over 30 years. He has been a highly recognized employee with PepsiCo for over 29 years, served as president of the Joseph E Lee Republican Club, chairman of the Johnson Family YMCA, chairman of the Republican Party of Duval County as well as the co-founder and chairman of the Florida Assembly of Black Republicans.

What is your top priority for reviving downtown?

Downtown Jacksonville is the hub of our city and has a lot of potential. As City Councilman, I plan to support revitalization efforts for improvements to downtown’s public infrastructure. It is vitally important that we encourage new business, housing and more event space to generate revenue and to create a more cultured experience throughout the city that will not only draw locals to the area and tourists.

Read the full Q&A here.

1504 Doncaster Avenue,  Jacksonville, FL 32208
Email: samuelnewby09@yahoo.com
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/vote4samnewby/
904-424-0963
Facebook: Sam Newby for City Council 2015

 

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Additional information

  • All mayoral, City Council and sheriff candidates, along with party affiliations, monetary contributions and more can be found here.
  • Upcoming candidate forums and debates can be found here.
  • Check your voter status here.
  • Polling locations can be found here.

***Downtown Vision, Inc. does not endorse candidates.***



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