Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan isn’t interested in conflating local politics with “national politics,” despite her meeting with Kamala Harris during her recent visit to Jacksonville, in which the Vice President pilloried the state’s new standards for teaching Black history f
During an interview on WJCT’s “First Coast Connect,” the recently inaugurated Democrat explained her position, even as she backed VP Harris’ take on Florida’s newly adopted approach implemented by rom the Ron DeSantis administration in teaching subjects ranging from slavery to massacres of the state’s Black citizens in the past.
“My message has been and will continue to be: National politics should not play a role in local politics. It’s about customer service,” Deegan said. “It’s about roads and bridges and sidewalks and potholes and making sure that people in Jacksonville have what they need to be successful.”
The Mayor stressed the importance of working to “build relationships with people,” saying that’s what she’s worked to do in her first weeks in office.
“I think you saw in this last election really a repudiation of the type of politics that is just zero sum … totally focused on destruction of the other person. And people said, ‘You know what, we want our city government to get along with each other and we need to get things done.’ There’s too much potential in this city to continue to have a food fight over politics when really it shouldn’t play a role.”
Despite Deegan’s assertion people want to move beyond national politics, she endorsed Harris’ speech criticizing the DeSantis administration for imposing standards that include teaching middle school students “enslaved people benefited from slavery” and high school students that the victims of racially motivated massacres were somehow also perpetrators.
“It’s not a political issue. This is an issue of recognizing people’s humanity and we’re going to continue to do that in Jacksonville. It doesn’t make any sense to me that we would educate our children in a way that is not honest to the history of slavery. And I think as with any issue, you look at that and you say, how does that impact students in Jacksonville and you have to speak out about it,” Deegan said.
She added that she believes a Mayor should “lift those issues that are very important.”
“At the end of the day, we’ll see what happens in terms of what the federal government will do and how people around the state react to that,” Deegan said.