Connect with us

Jax

Alvin Brown talks HRO, Barack Obama, Shad Khan, and his pathway to Congress

In a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown addressed current and past issues that still occlude his bid for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 5th Congressional District.

Among the issues: incumbent Congressman Al Lawson calling Brown “absent Alvin” and other issues from Brown’s mayoralty, including failure/unwillingness to get LGBT rights legislation through Council, and his unwillingness to share a stage with President Barack Obama while the President was in town.

As well, we discussed Brown’s renewed support from some of Jacksonville’s Republican powerbrokers, such as Shad Khan and Gary Chartrand. And we asked him point blank if he had any counter for Lawson’s strength out west and support from public safety unions in Jacksonville.

Brown discounted the “absent Alvin” hit, noting that he was “proud of our record,” which included creating 36,000 jobs, spurring $600 million in private investment, and pushing for dredging the St. Johns, which Brown called a “landmark harbor deepening effort.”

Though Brown has been pilloried on the left for not backing the Human Rights Ordinance, a bill that in 2016 finally codified LGBT protections in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations, the former mayor rejects the idea that he opposed the measure.

“All Americans deserve equal treatment. No one should face discrimination,” Brown said, asserting that he enacted LGBT protections and “never at anytime said [he] was against the legislation.”

Brown noted that, in 2015, he ordered the general counsel to “review all forms of discrimination” in Jacksonville.

“Our policy is enacted in City Hall today,” Brown said.

If elected, Brown vows to fight for protections in the areas of both sexual orientation and gender identity — a statement some will see as a dramatic policy evolution.

Brown also discounted claims that he hadn’t shown up for President Barack Obama, noting that he was a 2012 delegate for Obama.

Also, when Obama came to Jacksonville, Brown asserted that he met the President at the airport, and that Obama went to JAXPORT with him, where the President gave a speech.

Brown also said he supported the Affordable Care Act, as part of a larger practice of working with the administration on issues ranging from health care to military and veterans’ affairs.

When the state didn’t come through with Medicaid expansion, Brown asserted that he used community centers for health services.

Moving on from history to the current race, we talked about financial support from Jacksonville Republicans.

Brown was reticent about the specific impact of those checks, preferring to say he “greatly appreciate[s] the support from all corners of the district.”

“Some have been with me since 2011. Some are new,” Brown said, attributing that to him being a “visionary leader.”

Of course, there are Jacksonville players who balk at Brown’s vision. Among them: two Republicans, Mayor Lenny Curry and Rep. John Rutherford, he’d have to work with if elected.

Brown professed to be unconcerned, noting that he had worked with “Democrats, Republicans, and Independents” both as Mayor and a member of the Clinton Administration.

Also of note: Brown, in discussing the endorsement of Lawson by the Jacksonville police and fire unions, asserted that he was “not invited to interview … not contacted” by either union.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

Ron DeSantis tells licensing boards to cut entry requirements

Headlines

Goodbye Knights? Lawmaker floats ‘shutdown’ of University of Central Florida

Headlines

Court clears way for Everglades drilling

Headlines

Brookings says Florida cities can expect biggest costs of climate change

APolitical

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Michael Moline, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Email: Peter@FloridaPolitics.com
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Connect
Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.