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Former Mayor Hazouri chosen as next Jacksonville City Council president despite late grab by Republicans

Former mayor Hazouri chosen as next Jacksonville City Council President despite late grab by Republicans
Former mayor Hazouri chosen as next Jacksonville City Council President despite late grab by Republicans

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Hazouri on Tuesday was chosen as the next Jacksonville City Council president.

His 16-3 selection by the council came a day after current City Council President Scott Wilson announced that he was being pressured by local Republicans to change his commitment to Republican Councilman Danny Becton who made a move for the presidency last week.

According to Wilson, Republicans pressured him to break a promise to Hazouri, a Democrat, and was told if he doesn’t, he could face an uphill battle in an upcoming primary.

Wilson, who is leaving to run for another office, told News4Jax on Monday he will have nothing to do with it. He voted for Hazouri on Tuesday.

“Politics be damned, my word and my reputation are more important to me than any election,” Wilson said Monday.

On the Tuesday Zoom meeting that has become the way of city business during the pandemic Councilmember Brenda Priestly Jackson made the formal nomination of Vice President Hazouri.

”He is a healer, and we need healing," she said. "He knows we are stronger when all 19 serve together.”

Councilmembers Al Ferarro, Rory Diamond and Becton were the three votes for Becton.

For the most part, the City Council presidency is handed down to the person who serves as Vice President the year before. It hasn’t always happened, but this year it was a given that Hazouri would take over that role.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry congratulated Hazouri on his election Tuesday.

“I look forward to working with Council President-elect @cmtommyhazouri Congratulations Tommy,” Curry tweeted.

Hazouri will take the powerful leadership role when the new council year begins July 1.

“I’m not gonna recognize Republican or Democrat potholes. We’ll stand and deliver," Hazouri said.

Sam Newby was chosen unanimously as the next City Council Vice President.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.