How Lenny Curry is reaching across party lines, and how the Jax Chamber may have the real political juice in 2015


At last Tuesday’s Jacksonville City Council meeting, Mayor Elect Lenny Curry spoke about the campaign being over and coming together as “One Jacksonville.” Some cynics have framed that as just rhetoric. What’s clear though is that Curry means it.

Having talked to quite a few Democrats who have been elected to City Council to start next month, without fail Curry has reached out to them, including Joyce MorganReggie Gaffney, and Tommy Hazouri.

This jibes also with the seamless cooperation between Brian Hughes and Mayor Alvin Brown Chief of Staff Chris Hand throughout the transition process.

For those who know Lenny Curry as a person, this cooperation won’t come as a huge surprise. For those who defined him by the “Party Boss” memes advanced by his opponent’s campaign staff, this will come as more of a shock.

The fact is that Jacksonville politics seems partisan during campaign season, but party labels quickly fall by the wayside when the “silly season” is over. The real discussions are ones of how to run the city, and how to manage finite resources in the best possible way to confer maximum benefit; these are ultimately considerations that transcend party label.

This is not to say that there will not be divisions on council. There will be, of course. It’s telling that the vast majority of people elected to Jacksonville’s City Council this year, in addition to Mayor Elect Curry and Sheriff Elect Mike Williams, were endorsed by the Jax Chamber. That may be a more telling indicator of next steps from this group than the party label in the just concluded campaign.

There were some a few months back who said that the Chamber was making too aggressive a foray into local politics. The group poured money and other resources, including institutional imprimatur, into the just concluded campaigns. It was an “all in” bet. And it was successful.

It can’t be stressed enough that for those who wish to understand what will happen over the next four years, they should examine the priorities and the policy objectives of the local Chamber of Commerce.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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