Duval County School Board member April Carney is endorsing Jacksonville City Council member LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber for Mayor, the candidate announced Thursday.
Carney, who won election to the School Board after landing an endorsement from Gov. Ron DeSantis, is also a business owner and nutrition coach. She ran on a campaign centered on parental rights in schools and ending unnecessary mandates.
“As a former public school teacher, LeAnna understands the important connection between educating our youth, a thriving economy and a reduction in crime rates,” Carney said in a statement. “Our city deserves a Mayor that recognizes this relationship and is willing to be an active partner with (Duval County public schools) to help improve public education for all of Jacksonville’s students.”
She added, “Her commitment to parental rights, school choice, support for teachers and her insistence on evidence-based solutions makes her by far the best candidate for Mayor.”
Cumber also announced Thursday that she had signed the Moms For Liberty pledge, which promises “to honor the fundamental rights of parents including, but not limited to the right to direct the education, medical care and moral upbringing” of their children. It pledges to “advance policies that strengthen parental involvement” while defending “against government overreach.”
“Duval County’s third-grade reading scores have fallen from 60% to 47% in the last six years,” Cumber said. “We must redouble our efforts to provide every child in every corner of our city the ability to succeed. We must work together to provide children with the best education possible.”
Cumber, a Republican in her first term on Council, is one of several candidates vying to replace term-limited Mayor Lenny Curry next year. Her GOP competition includes Jax Chamber CEO Daniel Davis and second-term Jacksonville City Council member Al Ferraro.
Cumber previously secured support from Duval Property Appraiser Jerry Holland, Jacksonville City Council member Randy DeFoor, Baldwin Mayor Sean Lynch, the Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, several former Jacksonville City Council presidents and several faith leaders in the county.