Mayoral candidates weigh in on shootings

Rash of violence is hot topic with election next month

By Tracy Armbruster - Producer

JACKSONVILLE - With four people dead this weekend in Jacksonville, gun violence is an issue on voters’ minds as three candidates look to unseat Mayor Lenny Curry in next month’s election. 

City Councilwoman Anna Brosche is putting the violence squarely on Curry’s shoulders. 

“This is exactly what he said four years ago when he campaigned,” Brosche said. “He held Mayor Brown responsible for our increased crime rate and shared that he was going to address the problem, and we have not seen that. Therefore, it’s his responsibility.”

Curry responded in a statement.

“For the families of victims and our police to see this issued turned into catch phrases and reduce this work to a punchline is disgusting,” the statement said.

Two other lesser-known candidates are also on the ballot and not remaining silent.

That includes Jimmy Hill, a 28-year firefighter who said he knows the streets better than Brosche or Curry and disputes the notion the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has more officers on the streets.

“JSO having more officers on the street is a misnomer,” Hill said. “JSO has less officers on the street. The attrition rate is more than eating up new hires. We are losing officers. The message that you’re getting from regular players in this election is there are more officers on the street. There are not. There are less officers.”

Dr. Omega Allen is the other candidate who is pushing for stricter gun control regulations, but points out the city needs to look at getting people jobs who are in gang-plagued parts of town.

“The guns that are in the gang-related instances, I don’t think we can regulate those,” Allen said. “I believe that the economic issues in Jacksonville, when they are addressed, it will help curtail that kind of activity in our city.”

The upcoming election will be held March 19. Voters can vote no matter what their party affiliation is. 
 

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