JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Lenny Curry, formerly the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, has filed to run for mayor of Jacksonville.
He announced his candidacy Tuesday morning at the Supervisor of Elections office following months of speculation.
"I want Jacksonville to be the best city it can be for every family, every person," Curry said. "Alvin Brown was elected three years ago with bipartisan support with the wind at his back, so a lot of people tried to help him. He made a decision not to lead, not only on the big issues but on the day-to-day governing of the city. We have a budget he did not balance, which resulted in a spike in violent crime, which means we have unsafe streets and fewer educational opportunities for our kids, fewer job opportunities for adults in Jacksonville."
Curry talked briefly about pension reform, which many say is Jacksonville's biggest issue. He said that's the mayor's biggest downfall.
"Here is where he failed," Curry said. "He does not have a secured funding for the $40 million a year to get his 80 percent funding."
Curry had been the chair of the Republican Party since September 2011. He announced his resignation last month to pursue a mayoral campaign.
"It was time. I want Jax to be the best city for every family, neighborhood, person. Mayor Brown was elected 3 years ago, with bipartisan support. Elected with cross section of people who would have stood with him to help make him successful. For whatever reason, he decided not to lead," said Curry.
Curry joins Mayor Alvin Brown, City Council member Bill Bishop, Republican Omega Allen and independent candidate Tiffany Wingo in the race.
"Look I'm focused on the city I love. That's why I'm running for mayor. I would not be running, we would not be having this conversation, if neighbors, friends, people in the business community, a collective group of people didn't feel this mayor has failed us, failed to lead our city," said Curry.
Bishop, who is also a Republican, said pension will be the issue, and he said there has to be a commitment from all sides, including the mayor, even if it means a tax increase.
"There will have to be more revenue, whatever form that takes," Bishop said. "There are a lot of options on the table. But it also means something has to come back from the other side. We have not seen that yet."
"I'll never start a conversation about our city's fiscal future with talk about raising taxes," Curry said. "Just as I've done as a job creator, the place to start is by setting budget priorities, advocating for those priorities, and making sure we're being good stewards of taxpayer dollars."
Brown said pension reform is key, but he won't back down on not raising taxes.
"I have been returned, I've been at every meeting, I've been here all day. He announced, God bless him. I'm providing leadership on the real issue right now for the city. I inherited this issue this challenge and was stepping to the plate. I got a long time to worry about the campaign. I have to focus on running the city," Mayor Alvin Brown told Channel 4 Tuesday.
The first election for mayor will be held in March.
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