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Every day we see another news story about how Jacksonville’s leaders are trying to fleece taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars, from the Mayor’s office pushing a doubling of the gas tax to former JEA executives trying to make themselves rich off our backs.

And then we have candidates for political office wanting us to believe that they’re different and they really will deliver on the promises they make. 

That’s what Leanna Cumber told us today when she officially announced her run for Mayor of Jacksonville. 

She is excited, optimistic and filled with ideas on reducing crime, stopping tax increases and fixing some of the roads that keep us tied up in traffic.

Ms. Cumber announced her candidacy at a freight rail yard, which was an appropriate place to launch her campaign slogan – “Let’s Get Moving.”  The location allowed her to highlight some of Jacksonville’s strengths—its logistics workforce, its infrastructure advantages, and it’s diversity.

She became emotional sharing her vision for Jacksonville.  She and many others believe we have waited far too long as we watched downtown come to a stand still (and in some instances torn down to make room for donor’s pet projects), crime rising and creating fear in families and neighborhoods, and traffic getting worse due to the lack of infrastructure spending.

LeAnna has been on the city council for the last three years where she worked to both fully fund the Jacksonville Sheriffs’ Office and reduce the criminal element in Jacksonville by creating a nuisance abatement board – which will shut down business owners profiting off illegal activity.

LeAnna also focused on shutting down illegal gaming cafes. It turns out one had more than 300 calls to JSO in just four months.  She told Eye, “Think about how that one bill freed up JSO officers to keep our city safer.”

Cumber told an energetic, raucous crowd of more than 200 today that transparency was going to be a central part of her administration and asked citizens to hold her accountable.

Eye will be meeting with Ms. Cumber to see how she plans to be more transparent than the Curry Administration and how citizens can hold her accountable.  We believe we need a system set in place for these goals to be accomplished and we hope she can share those with Eye soon.

So far, Ms. Cumber seems to be voting appropriately for the people as a member of the city council.  She opposed the doubling of the city gas tax twice last year. She has also been vocal about what a boondoggle the Skyway to Nowhere is. Eye on Jacksonville agrees that spending $450m to benefit 1% of the city is a near criminal waste of taxpayer dollars.   Her background as a consultant with infrastructure deals will help the city look at different ways to make things happen without always getting into the taxpayer’s pockets.

Ms. Cumber has also written a landmark ordinance that passed and curbed sex trafficking in Jacksonville.  Her work on this issue got her recognized by the Trump Administration, when she was invited to attend a summit on human trafficking.

Going forward, Ms. Cumber wants to reverse Lenny Curry’s decision to demote the Office of Veteran’s Affairs and re-prioritize the needs of our veterans and active-duty personnel, who together make up almost 13% of our population.

Cumber wants to make Jacksonville a destination for people moving here to leave high-tax, high-regulation states. And it’s harder to make people want to move and live here if your city government is treating your hard-earned money like their own piggybanks while spending it on renderings and empty ideas.  Eye has heard from many of our followers about Jacksonville being known as “The City of Renderings” so it will be nice if a few of those renderings can actually be built.

The final decision of who Jacksonville will call “Mayor” will be up to the voters in early 2023. Ms. Cumber has her work cut out for her as she goes up against the powers to be who normally rule downtown Jacksonville and choose the Mayor for the benefit of the people such as Mayor Curry.  They haven’t chosen Ms. Cumber so this should make for an interesting race. 

Given the blatant corruption going on in our city government right now with the feds doing their due diligence on the JEA scandal and other back room deals, Jacksonville needs someone who will bring a bright light and transparency back to the halls of our city.  We need someone who will clean up the mess and make us proud to say, “We live in Jacksonville.”

Ms. Cumber believes she is that person.  Eye on Jacksonville applauds her enthusiasm and promises.  We now wait to see if Ms. Cumber will do what she says and deliver what she promises.    If she does – it will be a breath of fresh air and Jacksonville needs some air freshener because the stink has been way too strong for way too long in our beloved hometown.

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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