JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX spoke with potential voters on Wednesday as Democrat candidate for governor Charlie Crist came through Jacksonville to meet with people on the Westside.
News4JAX spoke with Crist about an issue Jacksonville residents have said is the most important to them: crime.
Crist was at Kingdom Plaza to have lunch and walk and talk with people. But before he arrived, News4JAX asked people there what they want to ask Crist. Everyone said crime.
“What would he do to combat crime that’s going on?” Shirley Evans said.
Once the former Republican governor and Democratic congressman arrived, News4JAX asked him some of those questions.
“I mean, that’s obviously incredibly important,” Crist said. “What we all want, as fellow Floridians is to make sure that we have safe communities to raise our family, safe schools for our children to be educated in. And first and foremost, we have to get that right. And I’ll do everything I can as both a former Attorney General and a former governor who understands that safety is incredibly important.”
Crist also spoke about the state’s response to hurricane Ian and how his opponent and current governor Ron DeSantis received lots of television time in the storm’s aftermath before he went about the business of meeting people. He then made a brief stop in a restaurant before heading to a gym and a barbershop.
During that time he was escorted by Bishop Mark McGuire who is also part of Cure Violence in Jacksonville. So News4JAX asked him how a governor could have an impact on local crime. He said it comes down to funding.
“You need those street soldiers, you need those individuals that are employed, to be able to go back into the neighborhood and help to reduce gun violence. And you can’t do that from a volunteerism standpoint only. It’s got to be something that is not only endorsed but embraced with resources. And so the gubernatorial candidates would provide some of those opportunities for us to expand our efforts in funding and the funding is absolutely necessary,” said Bishop Mark McGuire, Director of Cure Violence on the Westside.
News4JAX asked Crist why he chose to visit an area of the Westside where he has strong support instead of an area where DeSantis might be a favorite.
“Well, maybe we’ll come back and do that,” Crist said.
Crist will be back Thursday with two campaign stops, one in Jacksonville and another in St. Augustine.
News4JAX also asked if Gov. DeSantis would be welcome at Kingdom Plaza. They said of course they want all candidates to come so voters could voice concerns and ask questions.