Your Voice Matters: Leaders tell Jacksonville sheriff candidates to focus on issues, stop attacks

Jacksonville sheriff candidate Lakesha Burton responds to allegations made in campaign ad from opponent T.K. Waters

The race to become the next sheriff of Jacksonville is heating up with negative campaign ads hitting the airwaves ahead of the start of early voting.

Now, community leaders are calling for attack ads to stop.

The call comes after the campaign for Republican T.K. Waters began running ads that make claims against Democrat Lakesha Burton.

Church leaders said the ads are counterproductive and issues of crime and community involvement are being ignored as a result.

So what are the main issues to voters? Reporter Jim Piggott traveled around the city to find out.

As part of our commitment to making sure Your Voice Matters in our election coverage, News4JAX is more focused than ever on what issues are important to you and how the candidates plan to address them -- not on the candidate ‘back and forth’ and political theater, though we will continue to fact check claims made by candidates.

MORE: If you haven’t already, sign up for the Your Voice Matters newsletter here

In the weeks leading up to the 2022 midterm election, and the elections held in the spring of 2023, News4JAX has been working hard to find out what issues are most important to you and taking your questions and concerns to candidates running for office.

It’s all part of our Your Voice Matters campaign. (More on our mission can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.)

When this newsletter hits your inbox in the coming weeks, it will be made up of stories where the voters and the issues are the focal points. We will avoid political drama and rumors involving candidates, conflicting polls and topics like how much money a candidate has raised.

Your Voice Matters web (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

Insider 2022 midterm elections survey ✍🏽

Early voting started in Georgia this week and it begins in Duval County next week.

Both Florida and Georgia have races for governor and a U.S. Senate seat on the ballot while Jacksonville will also elect its next sheriff. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for grabs. While there is no race for president, the balance of power in Washington, D.C. is on the line.

Before the primary elections, we asked you to take a survey. We want to see if any new developments have occurred since then.

The first eight issues on the list are the same as before. We’ve added two new issues: Housing Affordability and Home Insurance Costs. After selecting your Top 3, we’d like you to tell us the order of their importance. We’d also like to know what question you might have that can be asked of any candidate, no matter the race. If we get the chance to interview any of them before election day, we could use your question.

Take the survey here.

Voter’s Guide 🗳️

We also created a comprehensive voter’s guide so you are informed on where all the local candidates stand on key issues heading into the Nov. 8 election. As Thomas Jefferson once so eloquently said: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people,” so with that in mind we packed as much information as we could into our guide so you can be prepared at the polls.


Our guide begins with interactive maps to help you find your congressional, state Senate and state House districts, and we break down the rest of the races by county. We hope you take a few minutes to learn something about the candidates’ backgrounds and their views on the issues. Plus, learn about the amendments and any ballot initiatives for your county or city.

Key dates in Nov. election. (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

More Voice Matters Stories

Ask your Questions ❓

News4JAX anchor and host of This Week in Jacksonville Kent Justice wants to hear from you, too. As these important elections approach, Kent plans to have many of the candidates and other elected officials on his weekly show that airs at 9 a.m. Sundays on News4JAX.

This week, Kent’s guest is St. Johns County Commission Chair Henry Dean.

Do you have questions about growth, affordable housing or other hot topics for Commissioner Dean? Share them by clicking the link to the story below and Kent will pick at least one of the questions to ask.

Ask Away: What are your questions for St. Johns County commissioner Henry Dean?

Your Voice Matters Mission Statement 🗣️

WJXT is THE local station, and there is nothing more local than elections. When it comes to making sure our viewers and digital consumers are informed, we take that role seriously. Nothing affects the changing world more than politics and elections. Education, the environment, the economy and equal rights are driven by elections. We will not pursue stories that frame elections as a horse race, we will not focus on candidate theater, and we will not stray from the issues important to you. News4JAX election coverage will empower you as you vote and take part in the democratic process.

News4JAX is making a commitment to consistent community outreach to hear from you both digitally and in person. We will then take your input and your questions and bring them right to the candidates running for office. We will also hold the candidates accountable for their words and actions using our “Trust Index” and fact-checking. will give you a ‘Voters Guide’ that will empower you with information before you head to the polls, information directly from the candidates, ballots and elected leaders. We promise all this, with a foundation of diversity, equity and inclusion in our coverage. Telling the story of the local community, everything WJXT does is with our community in mind. That’s why WJXT has been the market leader for more than 65 years.

Contact Us 📧

Feel free to share your story ideas with the Your Voice Matters team by sending an email to the leaders, including Kent Justice (, Jim Piggott ( and Travis Gibson (

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.