2016’s race for Jacksonville City Council VP was full of twists and turns and betrayals.
John Crescimbeni pulled it out, after a pledge for opponent Doyle Carter flipped.
On Tuesday, 2017’s race for the slot — a prerequisite for the presidency — started in earnest, with Southside Republican Scott Wilson declaring his candidacy.
In his letter to council members requesting a noticed meeting to discuss the candidacy (necessary under the Sunshine Law), Wilson cited his 28 years in city government, including stints with the clerk of court and as a council assistant, as a unique value add.
Wilson chaired Land Use and Zoning as a freshman council member, and chairs Neighborhoods, Community Investments, and Services this year.
When we asked him about his candidacy, the sales pitch was likewise based in experience.
Wilson, having worked in the council for nearly ten years, has gained an “incredible amount of experience” in that time frame.
“Serving as chairman of LUZ and NCIS gave me a chance to lead and prepare for VP,” Wilson noted.
Wilson came in with 11 other council members, some of whom (such as Garrett Dennis and Anna Brosche) look like natural competition.
We asked Wilson if he was ready for competition.
“It will be interesting to see how the other members react to my candidacy,” Wilson said.
Wilson has been his own man on the city council, willing to take positions that those outside the process might not have expected.
Given that he worked for Christian conservative Don Redman for eight years, there were those who expected Wilson to oppose expanding LGBT rights via the expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance.
Wilson supported the measure in committee, and offered a common-sense friendly amendment on the council floor to remove the chance of jail time for those violating the HRO.
Meanwhile, Wilson’s major initiative has been an attempt to get the city of Jacksonville to invest in parts of his district that are in decline.
To that end, he took a stand against the Jacksonville Journey budget last year on budget night, as part of a longer quest to get the city to invest those crime prevention resources outside of the ten zip codes that receive them.