This is a pivotal time in Jacksonville’s city hall.
With complete turnover in the city’s delegation to Washington and opportunities created by the new President, majority turnover in the city’s representation in Tallahassee, a revolutionary pension deal currently being approved by the city’s unions, and the imperiled fate of Enterprise Florida, this is a make or break time for Mayor Lenny Curry.
He discussed all these topics with us – exclusively – on Friday.
Expect more from D.C.: The mayor met with Rep. John Rutherford on Wednesday.
“We caught up … talked JAXPORT, public safety,” Curry said.
In addition to leaning on Rutherford, an ally of long standing, Curry also will take advantage of connections within the Donald Trump administration – including Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
“I’ve already got messages in to the Trump Administration. I’d like the federal government to be able to help us in some form in Jacksonville. I don’t know what that looks like yet. But we’re going to leverage every relationship we have to get help here with issues we’re facing, specifically on the public safety front, and the port is a huge issue,” Curry said.
Jacksonville is uniquely positioned in terms of the Trump administration. Ballard Partners employs Susie Wiles, a city hall veteran and a close ally and friend of Curry, and she will be doing work in the nation’s capital in addition to Jacksonville. And Marty Fiorentino is in Washington right now also, doing consulting for Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The city contracts with both Ballard and Fiorentino on the state level.
“Certainly we have relationships [in D.C.],” Curry said. “I have direct relationships as well with Reince Priebus and others. We have an RFP [in process] regarding lobbying for the feds. Expect to see movement there.”
Duval Delegation: There have been grumbles from inside city hall about the relative effectiveness