Jacksonville mayoral candidates meet at forum in Atlantic Beach

Candidates vying to become the next mayor of Jacksonville met Wednesday night for a forum at the Beaches Vineyard Church in Atlantic Beach.

The candidates answered questions, specifically addressing any issues or concerns that are important to voters that live out at the beaches. Those living in Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville beaches will all be able to vote in the election.

The seven candidates who will appear on the ballot, as well as a write-in candidate, each attended the forum. The forum comes ahead of the News4JAX Jacksonville Mayoral Debate, which will take place March 8 and 8 p.m. on Channel 4, News4JAX.com and News4JAX+.

More than 100 people attended the forum, and a key issue the candidates spoke about was the interlocal agreement. Many community members in the beaches community say they feel like they aren’t being seen and that they aren’t getting their fair share of projects from their taxpayer dollars.

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“We’re always concerned about the big city governments’ attitudes towards us because we’ve gotten, truthfully, short-changed in the past, said Neptune Beach resident Sybil Ansbacher.

Other topics the candidates discussed included infrastructure, like roads in the area, specifically noting Penman Road.

Candidates also talked about their plans for Mayport Village, communication with city hall and how they plan on tackling crime, which has been and remains a key issue for voters.

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“Let’s get control of crime,” said Grant Droogsma, a voter. “Let’s cut down on these murders, let’s cut down on the drugs, the fentanyl.”

Before the debate in March, This Week In Jacksonville host Kent Justice spoke independently with each candidate. You’ll find their interviews in full on the Your Voice Matters section of News4JAX.com

And if you haven’t, be sure to signup for our weekly This Week in Jacksonville and Your Voice Matters newsletters that get sent straight to your inbox.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.