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Local
City Council At-Large Group 3 candidate: Greg Rachal
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City Council At-Large Group 3 candidate: Greg Rachal

City Council At-Large Group 3 candidate: Greg Rachal
Photo Credit: via Greg Rachal

City Council At-Large Group 3 candidate: Greg Rachal

Name: Greg Rachal

Family: Wife and three Children

Occupation: UPS Human Resource Management; 22 years of service

Political/Government experience: Current City Jacksonville Commissioner of Taxation Revenue Utilization and Expenditure

Years lived in Jacksonville: 29 years

Campaign website: www.electgregrachal.com

Why did you decide to run for office? Jacksonville is poised to take the next step in becoming a city of the future; however, I feel Jacksonville is in need of leadership with new and innovative ideas. With my back ground in Human Resources, I confident that I will be able to use my skills to become a representative voice between the citizens and the city. 

What is the biggest problem facing Jacksonville as a city overall, and how specifically would seek to address that: Currently our city is experiencing a spike in crime, illicit drug use, increasing homelessness along with multitude of other issues. These challenges can cause a loss of trust between citizens and leadership. Through continued partnerships with city agencies, non-profits and community groups we can start to address specific problems facing our city.

What makes your constituents unique, and how would that influence your time in office: Based on the fact that Jacksonville is the largest city in square miles and a consolidated government, this makes our citizens and city demographics unique in comparison to other cities. Therefore, each citizen plays an important role in defining our city. As an At-Large Councilman, my goal is to become a bridge between the citizen and government.

What would be your main budget priority for the upcoming fiscal year? The main priority for our city has to be public safety. We should ensure the citizens of Jacksonville can feel safe in their city spaces and neighborhoods.  

How do you define what you hope Jacksonville will be ten years from now? I define Jacksonville as the gateway to the future. With all of the City’s resources, Jacksonville can be an ideal view of what other cities would hope to become. Jacksonville has a rich history, a beautiful river, growing port, strong veteran population, education systems, quality hospitals and the list goes on and on. I believe that the consolidation of our city in the early days was the right move. It is my hope within the next decade, other cities across the US will want to use Jacksonville’s blueprint and follow its example.

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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.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has issued an Amber Alert for 2 missing children. Five-year-old Bri’ya Williams and 6-year-old Braxton Williams were last seen about 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the 10200 block of West Beaver Street in Jacksonville. In a briefing, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said family members were inside a house when the children went missing while playing in their front yard of the home. JSO said a family member called police when they realized that the children were missing from the yard. Sources told ActionNewsJax that the children are siblings. Braxton Williams is said to be on the autism spectrum but will communicate with others. He was wearing a red sweater and blue jeans when he went missing. Bri’ya Williams was wearing a gray sweater with multicolored writing on it. K-9 teams, drones and drive teams from JSO as well as other agencies are searching for the children and will continue their search through the night. Police are asking for everyone in the area to be on the lookout and to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or 911 if they have information about where the children could be.
  • A California father is facing multiple charges, including murder, in the death of his toddler son, authorities said. According to the Fresno Bee, Jesse Ashton, 23, of Mariposa, surrendered to authorities Friday, less than two weeks after they issued a warrant accusing him of murder and assault resulting in the April 2018 death of 22-month-old Bradley Reynolds. Ashton was jailed on $1 million bond, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Deputies previously arrested Ashton on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter April 19, 2018, after Bradley died at an area hospital earlier that week, the Sheriff’s Office said. Ashton, who claimed that the boy had suffered a seizure, was released on bail, authorities said. “Based on evidence available at that time, no charges were filed by the District Attorney’s Office,” the news release said. But that changed after officials completed an autopsy and pathology report and gathered more information during their investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said. Authorities reviewed the results in November and issued an arrest warrant for Ashton on Dec. 2, according to the news release. “The incontrovertible evidence shows that Jesse Ashton murdered his child,” District Attorney Walter Wall said in a statement. Read more here or here. Deputies previously arrested Ashton on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter April 19, 2018, after Bradley died at an area hospital earlier that week, the Sheriff’s Office said. Ashton, who claimed that the boy had suffered a seizure, was released on bail, authorities said. “Based on evidence available at that time, no charges were filed by the District Attorney’s Office,” the news release said. But that changed after officials completed an autopsy and pathology report and gathered more information during their investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said. Authorities reviewed the results in November and issued an arrest warrant for Ashton on Dec. 2, according to the news release. “The incontrovertible evidence shows that Jesse Ashton murdered his child,” District Attorney Walter Wall said in a statement. Read more here or here.
  • Police in Oklahoma are investigating after a fatal triple shooting Saturday afternoon in Jenks. Investigators told KOKI-TV that a man and his two sons are dead after what they believe is a case of murder-suicide. Police said the children’s mother was at work at the time. The shooting happened in the Country Woods neighborhood near West 106th Street South and South Madison Street South. Officers responded to a call around 12:50 p.m. regarding a domestic incident at the home. Police said others living in the home called 911. No one else in the home was injured.
  • Police in Jacksonville Beach are investigating after more than a dozen cars were broken into over the course of a few days. It started last weekend along 5th Street South where several of those burglaries took place.  Police reports said there were 14 burglaries that happened Saturday through Monday.  Joseph Rennie said he’s hoping this weekend they don’t see a repeat.  “All in all, this is a pretty safe neighborhood. But occasionally, you have things like this happen and come up, but it’s definitely a little bit unnerving,” Rennie said.  Police said someone was going around smashing out windows of vehicles and looking for valuables inside. Wallets, credit and debit cards were taken.  Some people had nothing taken, but were left with a broken window. It happened to 6 cars on 5th Street, 4 cars on 12th, and several others on the surrounding blocks.  Rennie, like many others who live in the area, said he’s thankful he wasn’t a victim, but was surprised it happened to so many people in the area.  “There is a sense of just making sure you’re being smart about it, not leaving stuff of value in your car, kind of anywhere. But yeah, its really unfortunate to see that that’s happened, especially around the holiday season,” Rennie said.  As always, police are urging people not to leave valuables in their cars.
  • Florida, along with 29 other states, has been accepted for membership into the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), according to Governor Ron DeSantis' office. ERIC is a multi-state partnership that uses a data-matching tool to help enhance election security and make voter rolls more accurate.  The governor's office says through ERIC, member states can share information from voter registration systems, motor vehicle databases, social security death records, and US Post Office records, to help identify voters who have moved, passed away, or changed their name.  Additionally, the governor's office says ERIC will help boost voter registration as it will provide member states better information on how to contact potentially eligible, but unregistered voters.  Governor DeSantis says he has set aside an estimated $1.3 million in his 2020-2021 recommend budget to conduct outreach to these unregistered voters with a direct mailer prior to the 2020 general election.  But the governor's office says Florida's full participation in ERIC will be contingent on the state legislature signing off on his budget. Being a member of ERIC requires annual dues of around $75,000.

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