Name: Ju’Coby Pittman
Family: Two Children
Occupation: Incumbent, City Council Member, District 8/CEO and President-Clara White Mission
Political/Government experience: Governor Rick Scott appointment to City Council District 8, JEDC, Judicial Nominating Commission(twice), Florida State Agriculture Advisory Commission, Cultural Council of Jacksonville and State Council on Homelessness
Years lived in Jacksonville: Native
Campaign website: www.votejucoby.com
Why did you decide to run for office: Currently, I am the incumbent for City Council District 8. Since my appointment by former, Governor Scott, I have supported and voted on legislation that have impacted the residents and businesses in Duval County. I serve on the Land Use and Zoning (LUZ) and Rules Committees. As a native of Jacksonville, I have been a change agent of innovative sustainable initiatives for 25 years, at the Clara White Mission, and have grown the agency’s budget from $295,000, to an annual budget of $3.1M. Community engagement has kept me actively involved on the forefront of Jacksonville’s progression through developing programs that promote and champion economic growth and community revitalization. I have been working to improve Jacksonville for over 30 years by implementing programs that effect change through cost-effective initiatives by engaging the community. My community focus has been stabilizing the lives of veterans, the homeless and underserved through licensed vocational training that includes Culinary Arts, Janitorial and industrial industry training, that leads to job creation, job placement(1000 students have graduated 65% remain employed), housing, urban farming & a mobile market designated for food desert communities.
As an extension of the veteran program initiative. I raised $3.8M to develop and opened the Henri Landwirth “Beaver Street Veterans Villas and Outreach Center” in 2017 and the Women Veteran Blvd. House. I transformed this historic vacant downtown structure into a life-changing “One Stop Shop" full-service permanent housing facility that included supportive services.
My vision is to continue connecting neighborhoods, businesses, government and the community together, with an opportunity to exercise my voice as a servant leader, when addressing the critical and urgent issues that matter to the citizens of Duval County. I believe that my extensive community and professional experiences have prepared me for a seat to continue to serve on City Council in District 8 and that is why I decide to run.
What is the biggest problem facing Jacksonville as a city overall, and how specifically would seek to address that: Businesses and constituents in Jacksonville feel unsafe due to rapid crime rate, which is unacceptable. Unfortunately, crime has been an issue for many years, but there has been an increase among youth. Closing the loophole, to access the of purchase guns with a waiting and cooling off period. Mental health remains a major role in crime and our murder rates. We must fight to take guns off the streets and work to steer adults and youth away from violence, crime, gangs, and drugs. Continue to engage with citizens, if you see something, say something and deliver resources that are customized to the neighborhood needs.
What makes your constituents unique, and how would that influence your time in office: During my time in office, I have spent a lot of time getting to know the district and constituents that make up the district. I have been able to engage and discuss the vision for District 8, with the buy-in of the constituents through scheduled Town Hall Meetings, scheduled meeting with school principals and created the first District 8 News Letter to keep constituents abreast. To effectively, address concerns and accomplishments, we have established a collaborative approach. I am committed to listening, working and following up with the necessary actions to resolve concerns; that matters the most by highlighting the neighborhoods, parks and businesses, as we transform with visual outcomes and measurements during my time in office.
What would be your main budget priority for the upcoming fiscal year: Neighborhood Infrastructure is a priority- Continuing to support legislation to improve and ensure funding is available for repairing roads, drainage and failing septic tanks issues. Unfortunately, there has been many years of disparities, neglect and inconveniences for constituents in the district pertaining to these issues. To improve these issues, funding has been allocated for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) as well as funding from JEA to address the septic tanks. With many of the septic tanks located in the “north quadrant” of the city, the commitment via consolidation is the vehicle to ensure these septic tank problems are resolved and to provide the quality of life that is deserved for the upcoming fiscal year. As long as I’m on City Council, will continue to ensure these projects and other infrastructure issues are now a reality
How do you define what you hope Jacksonville will be ten years from now: I envision in ten years
- A robust downtown with an increase of pedestrian traffic, with major redevelopment on the waterfront on both sides of the river
- The build out of Brooklyn and Lavilla
- Increased in Tourism
- Decrease in Crime
- Sustainable neighborhoods that were previously distressed communities
- Improved drainage to prepare for Hurricanes and natural disasters
EDITOR’S NOTE: WOKV asked all candidates in a race to answer the same questions, and the answers here are their unedited responses. WOKV has not independently verified information in these answers, nor is WOKV endorsing any candidates.