None of the seven candidates on the ballot in the March election received more than 50% of the vote, so the top two vote-getters, Democrat Donna Deegan and Republican Daniel Davis, advance to the May runoff, which is open to all voters.
News4Jax sent a questionnaire to each candidate asking about their background and their views on several issues. Scroll down to read the responses of those seeking your vote -- in their own words.
Note: Responses are sorted alphabetically and are presented exactly as submitted, with no editing by News4Jax staff.
Party affiliation: Republican
This candidate, who is currently president and CEO of the Jax Chamber, has not completed the News4JAX candidate questionnaire following email and phone invitations to do so. His answers will be added promptly if the questionnaire is returned at any point prior to election day.
Campaign website: danieldavisjacksonville.com
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation: Former broadcast journalist of 25 years & Lead anchor at First Coast News, founder of the DONNA Foundation and 26.2 with DONNA: The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer
Your family: Husband - Tim Deegan Son - Drew Daughter - Danielle
Education: Florida State University, Class of 1984
Political experience: In 2019, I ran to represent Florida’s 4th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Although I did not win in a heavily gerrymandered district, we brought over more than 100,000 new votes, the biggest swing for a red congressional district in Florida in 2020.
Over the last few months, we surveyed News4JAX Insiders to find out what they saw as the top issues facing our city, ahead of the city elections. These issues below are the top three – how would you address each one if elected?
Voters’ No. 1 issue: Crime
I believe, as mayor, my best levers for reducing crime are economic. When elected, I will take a collaborative approach that combines causes of poverty, education, food insecurity and of course partnership with our elected sheriff.
Voters’ No. 2 issue: Affordable Housing
The current affordable housing crisis is caused by a severe shortage of affordable housing options and exacerbated by out-of-state corporate investors buying local properties and inflating prices. As mayor, I will tackle the affordable housing crisis by repurposing unused city-owned property, mandating new developments who seek city incentives to include workforce housing, implementing policies that support multifamily units, and confronting the issue of out of state investors buying up homes that rob families of their generational wealth, and drive up rental costs.
Voters’ No. 3 issue: Infrastructure
Jacksonville’s infrastructure, whether in the Urban Core and other neglected neighborhoods, has been left to deteriorate over the past 50 years. When elected, I will work to improve the conditions of neglected neighborhoods by repairing crumbling infrastructure, which I believe is essential for the growth and development of our city. It’s time to make good on broken promises to those neighborhoods since the time of consolidation on everything from septic tank removal to sidewalks. Resiliency will be key in those decisions.
Beyond those three issues, what do you see as the top issue you’ll likely face while holding this office?
I will focus on improving public health access and education. I am the only candidate to propose a policy that would move our city out of the basement of health outcomes and have a four point plan to do just that.
Finally, I aim to foster an inclusive economy by collaborating with current corporate partners and attracting businesses that align with this goal, to ensure that all residents of Jacksonville benefit from economic growth. We must diversify and activate our city boards to create a diverse citizen voice in our government that looks like Jacksonville. I will have an office dedicated to bringing the same business resources to our neglected neighborhoods as those resources exist in other parts of our city. Facade grants, incubator programs, and merchant catalogs should be extended to everyone.
How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?
I have deep roots, five generations strong in Jacksonville. As a trusted voice with 25 years of experience in the anchor chair, I am intimately familiar with the city and its people. Over the course of my career, I have lived a shared life with this community and listened to their stories, struggles, and achievements. I have witnessed firsthand how the system prioritizes the interests of the few over those of working families.
While working, I was diagnosed with breast cancer three times. This community showed up for me with prayers and hard truths about their own cancer journeys. Hearing from people all over Jacksonville who were choosing between food and medicine, led me to create and lead the DONNA Foundation, which has provided financial assistance and support to over 17,500 families living with breast cancer and has raised millions for research. I founded the 26.2 with DONNA marathon, which has brought 60 million dollars of economic impact to Jacksonville to date. I know how to vision, build, and put the right people on the bus to get things done because I’ve done it.
When elected, I know that my unique experience, dedication and track record of showing up for women and working families will enable me to lead the city of Jacksonville to greatness. I will continue to be a strong advocate for the community and will ensure that everyone’s voices are heard in City Hall. I am committed to serving the citizens of Duval County and making a positive impact on their lives. I have no political agenda beyond giving everyone in this city an opportunity to thrive.
What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?
After serving as mayor, I would hope to be remembered as a unifier. In the newsroom and in the world of cancer philanthropy there is no focus on red or blue, only on solutions that help people. I’d like to be remembered for creating a Jacksonville where we return to our roots in arts and entertainment, a key to making this city one where our kids and grandkids want to stay and raise their families.
I would hope to be remembered as the mayor who finally brought Jacksonville to its full potential downtown as we open up our riverfront and bring the people of all walks into our vibrant, resilient, connected neighborhoods and parks. And the mayor who made sure that in a city with the best healthcare in the country, we also have the best health outcomes. Most of all, I would hope to be remembered for my leadership and ability to bring people together to work toward common goals for the people of Jacksonville.
Campaign website: https://www.donnaformayor.com/