City Council District 14

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. If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the March 19 election, that person wins the office. If not, the two candidates with the most votes will appear on the ballot of the city's second election in May.

Five candidates are running to fill the seat of Jim Love, who has completed his second term and cannot run for re-election. This district starts in Riverside and runs south along the west bank of the St. Johns River to the Clay County line, then west to Oakleaf.

  Candidates for Jacksonville City Council District 14

 

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.


Randy DeFoor Randy DeFoor

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 55

Candidate's family: Spouse: J. Allison DeFoor. 3 biological children, 3 step children and 2 grandchildren

Occupation: Senior Vice President and National Agency Counsel, Fidelity National Financial

Education: Bachelor's Degree, The University of the South; Juris Doctorate, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University

Political experience: None other than appointments to FSCJ Board, JIA CRA and formally the JEDC

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

Public Safety, Workforce Development and Infrastructure

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
Through growing up in the community and in my career, I have a wide range of experience and expertise that will serve our district well.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
I am not seeking this office to be remembered, but to serve a community I love. My goal is to work diligently for our community to insure Jacksonville thrives so that our children have opportunities to be able to come home to beautiful and safe neighborhoods and well paying jobs.

Campaign website: randydefoor.com
Social media: Facebook


Sunny Gettinger Sunny Gettinger

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 41

Candidate's family: Trey (spouse), Cort (7 yrs - 2nd Grader at West Riverside), Max (4 years), & Dobby (our mutt)

Occupation: Communications Manager

Education: Master's in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; BA, English, Yale University

Political experience: No previous runs for office

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

The three biggest issues facing our city are strengthening our neighborhoods, increasing public safety, and reducing poverty. 

First, we need to invest in our neighborhoods now to ensure we can meet future challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Improving our infrastructure attracts businesses and new jobs to Jacksonville while increasing our property values. The city also has a responsibility to invest in the infrastructure of our neighborhoods left behind after consolidation. This investment is in flood resiliency, streets, sidewalks, parks, schools, and underground utilities including fiber. This will encourage the necessary private investment to attract higher wage paying employers, retailers, supermarkets, banks, and other amenities that improve quality of life. 

Secondly, we need to be doing more to keep our families and neighborhoods safe. Our police officers, fire fighters, and rescue teams are our first line of defense for not just our physical safety, but in the welfare of our whole community. I want to make sure law enforcement and first responders have the resources they need to effectively patrol a county as large as Duval. From recruiting the best people to ensuring they have the best training to deal with the many different situations and issues they face each day, I will make sure our first responders are supported. We should all feel safe walking, biking, playing with our kids, enjoying our neighborhoods, and knowing that our justice system continues to work to treat each citizen fairly and with respect.

Finally, there is no magic wand to ending poverty in our city. We know that lifting people up includes community-based programs that improve public safety, adds jobs and increase wages, promotes private investment, provides better schools and after-school programs, and builds stronger families. The Jacksonville Journey was an excellent beginning and the city is already suffering from the political shortsightedness of defunding these programs. 

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
My experiences in the technology industry and years spent serving our community inform my belief in the power of using data to make decisions. I've spent 12 years working for Google in communications, human resources, and most recently, Google Fiber. In my role as the Metro Expansion Lead for Google Fiber in Florida, I worked with the City of Jacksonville, JEA, and the City of Tampa to explore the potential of building a broadband network across both cities. These experiences gave me an understanding of where we are with our existing infrastructure and permitting process and an appreciation for the enormous opportunity we have to build a digitally inclusive city. As a mom to two kids, my volunteer time has primarily gone to organizations focused on education and community building, including the Early Learning Coalition of Duval, the West Riverside Elementary PTA, the Jewish Community Alliance, and 904ward, an organization that works to bring positive change on issues of race and diversity. I've also served as chair for both Riverside Arts Market and Riverside Avondale Preservation, recognizing the value of what makes our neighborhoods special and helping to find ways to preserve that while developing new projects to ensure we're continuing to invest in all of our neighborhoods.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
My primary goals are improving infrastructure and the integrating data-based decision making into our public policy process. Jacksonville's infrastructure is inadequate to meet the challenges we face from a rising St. Johns River. We need to get our homes off septic tanks and install underground utilities to ensure that everyone can access high-speed internet. We have to address the vulnerabilities that recent storms showed us including the flooding issues in our streets (which can happen even with our big rainstorms). We must also reduce the risk of widespread power outages and the cost to repair them. I will make sure we are focused on our resiliency as a city and our ability to meet the challenges ahead. 
I believe in the power of data. Data is free of emotion, politics, and is key to informing us in making the right decisions for our city. We have big choices in front of us such as dredging our port and waterways, Downtown, smart development and all that goes with it — like traffic and parking. This also includes smaller issues, like how do we take care of our parks and roads. I will focus on understanding these issues and on finding solutions that address those problems rather than focusing on political wins. Putting our data to work for us will save taxpayers money and help us make the right decisions for the long-term future of our city.

Campaign website: votesunny.com
Social media: Facebook | Twitter


Henry MooneyhanHenry Mooneyhan

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 70

Candidate's family: Married 47 years to my wife Katherine. We have 4 children and 5 grandchildren and one on the way. I was born in Jacksonville and raised in Springfield. I have lived in the district since 1979.

Occupation: Transportation Industry Consultant

Education: Florida State College, studied Transportation and Logistics

Political experience: Ran for city council before. Grass Roots Campaigner for other local and state candidates. I have been active in the local Republican Executive Committee, Westside Republican Club, Republican Womens Club of Duval Federated, participated in several Tea Party Patriots National Organization events speaking at rallies in Washington DC, St Louis, and other venues in different parts of the US

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

1. Public Safety. Support additional funding for JSO and JFRD, to staff and equip each department properly for the continued reduction in our crime rate, and other protective services they provide for the community.
2. Addressing the infrastructure in areas of the district that are lacking. Provide smart planning for building encroachments in neighborhoods, address storm surge in older Historic Districts, parking issues in congested neighborhoods and suburban areas, plan properly for roadways and road improvements throughout the district.
3 Total Transparency. Representing the citizens instead of trying to govern them. Maintaining an Open Door Policy so the citizens, if they choose,can talk directly to me about their concerns and needs.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
Through my 50 year career as a senior management member of the transportation industry, I maintained an open door policy where I encouraged the employees in all departments to share their concerns and ideas with me. I believe the people knew better than me. I will continue that practice on the city council. I will hold quarterly town hall style meetings for the people to tell me what they want and need instead of me trying to tell them what I think they need. I am not a special interest supported candidate and not a selected candidate of the administration. I will be independent in my decision making and make decisions based on the interests expressed by the citizens in the district. I am an advocate of small businesses and will work with them and the citizens together.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
If folks have a memory of my time of service, I hope they will think it was just that, SERVICE. Sometimes elected officials get so wrapped up in protecting the special interest groups that funded them, they begin to think they "govern" the people instead of "serve" the people. If I am remembered for anything it would be that I kept my promises, stayed loyal to the citizens of the district and Jacksonville as a whole, and restored the proper vision an elected official should have; represent and serve the people because the people come first.

Campaign website: HenryMooneyhan.com
Social media: Facebook


Jimmy PelusoJimmy Peluso

Party affiliation: Democrat

Age: 32

Candidate's family: (No response)

Occupation: Consultant

Education: BA: George Washington University; MPA: University of Pennsylvania

Political experience: Working in Government Affairs with the St. Johns River Water Management District, political consultant during the 2018 election cycle.

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

Crime: Our city continues to have over 100 murders a year. This is unacceptable for any city, but with our population we shouldn't be seeing anything this serious. There are systemic issues that the city needs to face and address, but it is going to take all constitutional officers; Mayor, Council, Sheriff, State Attorney, and School Board to eliminate. Having a coordinated plan will help make sure our neighborhoods and residents don't feel left out. Everyone should have amenities like any other part of town, and access to healthcare, services, and economic opportunity. We need to make sure kids feel in control of their lives, and not lost, ignored, or neglected. Programs are in place now to try to correct this, but we need leaders who will hold the right people accountable and "course correct" if necessary so we can finally lower our rate. 

Growth/Infrastructure: Our city continues to grow outward too much. In doing so, we are focusing too much on building new roads and investing dollars outside of our established neighborhoods. In doing so we are missing out on fixing the old and outdated infrastructure in Fairfax, Murray Hill, Argyle Forest, and all throughout our city. We need to incentivize developers to work in areas where there is existing infrastructure, not build out more that might become neglected in 20-30 years. 

Veterans: Our city loves our veterans, but I'm concerned that it is too difficult for our vets to get jobs coming out of the service. Our private employers are heavily invested in the veteran community, but I would like to see these companies promise to do a face-to-face interview with any veteran and read their resume by hand, instead of by machine. Businesses can opt into my proposed program at no cost, and our city can place those who participate on the COJ website as a "veteran friendly" employer. As of now it is too tough for HR departments to understand what a veteran has accomplished, so let's empower our vets by letting them explain it themselves and I guarantee we will see an increase in employment.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
I am the only candidate with experience in the public sector. After serving on active duty in the US Navy for six years, I worked in Government Affairs with the Water Management District. I have lobbied on behalf of our river and natural resources in Tallahassee and I've worked with the 18 counties and their municipal governments that make up the District. My knowledge and understanding of government, in addition to my time in service will be useful to the district and our city.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
I would like to be known as the Councilmember who showed up to the neighborhoods and the residences in my district, and actually fixed some of their problems. There is too much of a disconnect between government and the people, and I hear it all the time. If people don't believe that their elected leadership cares, then they will never get behind some of the bigger projects the city needs to accomplish in order to remain competitive. Our residents need to know the city needs them, and I want to help spread that message.

Campaign website: www.jimmyforjax.com
Social media: Facebook | Twitter


Earl Testy has also qualified as a write-in candidate in the District 14 race.

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.

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