City Council District 1

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.Each of the city's 14 districts is represented by its own council member elected by voters in that district. Each candidates' party affiliation is listed on the ballot, but the city holds unitary elections, so Duval County registered voters of any party can vote for any candidate.

The contest for District 1, which covers Old Arlington, the Regency area, Clifton and Empire Point, pits incumbent Joyce Morgan against former Councilman Bill Bishop.

Candidates for Jacksonville City Council District 1

News4Jax asks each candidate for office a uniform set of questions hoping to get beyond campaign statements or media filters to help voters decide which candidate they will support. Below are the candidates' verbatim responses.

Bill Bishop

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 62

Candidate's family: Married to Melody Bishop, son Bill

Occupation: Architect

Education: Master of Architecture and MBA

Political experience: Served on Jacksonville City Council from 2007 to 2015, served as Council President 2012/13.

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

Issues 1 and 2 are issues that affect the entire city but have large impacts in District 1. Issue 3 affects other parts of the city as well but is of great concern to the residents of Arlington.
A.    The perception of high crime and actual high crime rates in certain parts of the city. There is a perception that crime rates are rising in our community. While overall this is not true (the actual statistics show this), perception is reality and that narrative can have a negative effect on Jacksonville's reputation. Our murder rate is, however, extremely high and we must get control of that.
B.    Education and the condition of our public schools is a major issue. In order to maintain a growing economy and attract and retain the types of businesses we need, we must have a well functioning school system and a diversified system of post-secondary education. UNF, JU, and FSCJ along with numerous private institutions are filling that roll well. Unfortunately, our public school system in Jacksonville is lacking in many areas. Even though we have three of the highest ranked high schools in the country, they only cover a small percentage of our total student population. We have some excellent private and charter schools but private schools are extremely expensive and both offer access to small overall numbers of students. Our public school infrastructure is close to if not the oldest in the state and will require several billion dollars to upgrade. For many people with school age children and companies with employees with school age children looking to relocate, the condition of the local school district is very important. A challenged school system can be a disincentive to do business in Jacksonville.
C.    Continued expansion of undesirable uses intruding into Arlington. These include internet cafes, pawn shops, and other similar uses. These uses are still proliferating in certain parts of Arlington resulting in increased crime, stress on existing neighborhoods, and decrease in property values. These uses require zoning changes in order to open in most areas and these changes have been historically too easy to get. These types of uses also make it more difficult to attract positive development for economic revitalization.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
Through my 30 years experience as a practicing architect, I understand the development process, what constitutes positive development, and how cities function. I also understand construction and infrastructure since I work with it every day. How cities are built directly impacts how they perform and their desirability as places to live.  One of the most important job of a district council member is constituent service. My track record for from my previous service on the City Council demonstrates my high commitment to constituent service.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
My hope would be that I had an influence in positive development in Arlington that helped it on its way toward economic and neighborhood vitality to once again make it known as a great place to raise a family.

Campaign website: billbishopforcitycouncil.com
Social mediaFacebook | Twitter

Joyce Morgan Joyce Morgan

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 62

Candidate's family: Husband, Richard Jr.; children Faith, Morgan, Richie

Occupation: Jacksonville City Council District 1

Education: Bachelor's degree, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville Alabama

Political experience: Incumbent Jacksonville City Council member

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

1- Crime and Safety is an issue as District 1 residents have seen some high-profile shootings in their neighborhoods as well as other crime. We work with police and the Sheriff's Watch organization on personal safety.
2 - Litter and Blight is an ongoing issue impacting both residents and businesses. We need a cleaner district and City. Our neighborhoods are engaged in that effort.
3- Economic Development/Infrastructure - Residents are concerned about businesses moving out, yet others are moving in. We need to continue a major focus on roads, sidewalks, and drainage.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
As a 20-year resident of Arlington, I bring grassroots community organizational skills to District 1. I have already mobilized the community to work together in partnerships with Jacksonville University, local businesses, organizations, and social service providers.
We are producing tangible activities to reduce litter and blight, promote collaborations with the Sheriff's Department, promote youth job training and economic viability for families with community non-profit social organizations.
I also promote inclusion and help draw on the strength of the diversity of District 1. In addition, I have launched a new initiative to encourage local residents to support their neighborhood businesses.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
I want to be remembered for being a trusted, approachable, and accountable City Council Member who worked tirelessly in her District to impact the daily lives of her constituents. 
I want to also be remembered for bringing City Hall to District 1 every month with my Town Hall Meetings. This is the time when I communicate the different initiatives impacting Arlington and the City of Jacksonville. I also have City Department heads who can help answer questions during the meeting.

Campaign website: www.vote4joyce.com
Social media: Facebook

Early voting runs from March 4 through 17 at more than a dozen locations, with all Duval County precincts open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 19. Vote-by-mail ballots are available from the Supervisor of Elections Office and must be returned by 7 p.m. March 19.