LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber Announcement Speech “Let’s Get Moving, Jacksonville” (AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY)

Three years ago, I was sworn into the Jacksonville City Council. And just six months ago, I started JAX First. I did so to: Explore what direction people wanted Jacksonville to go in and to determine how best we can put Jacksonville first. Since then, I have met with people all over the city–from Baldwin to Mandarin to Arlington to the Beaches to the Southside – to communities that feel ignored by their elected officials–and there is one thing we can all agree on: leadership matters and we can and must do better.

I listened to people talk about specific concerns, such as the desire for increased school choice; The need for basic infrastructure upgrades, including innovative flooding and traffic mitigation solutions; The need to reduce crime and improve safety and security throughout the city; And the feeling of being increasingly taxed without seeing real improvements to their neighborhoods.

We need to create a plan to solve our transportation issues that puts residents first by prioritizing safety, lessening commute times, and lowering costs to working families; NOT pet projects sponsored by career politicians!

I’m so excited to be HERE today, at one of the key transportation hubs on the East Coast, with all of you who share my vision for a better Jacksonville, but we have a LOT OF WORK TO DO…and IT IS TIME…
It is time to GET MOVING on building infrastructure that truly improves the community! It is time to GET MOVING on lower gas taxes! And, it is time to GET MOVING on making this city SAFER and more PROSPEROUS for our children and our grandchildren.

AND, there is something else – something politicians usually don’t want to talk about, but I am
going to break that mold and talk about it here today…It is also time to GET MOVING on holding our leaders accountable so they ALWAYS DO what is best for EVERYONE in this City -not for a select and powerful few.

Jacksonville is a great place to live and our goal should be to become the greatest Southern city in the country – and that takes leadership and action. That is why I am here today…because it is time…

It is time to GET MOVING!

My name is LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber. And I am asking for YOUR VOTE to be the NEXT MAYOR OF JACKSONVILLE.

The FIRST thing I am committing to you, and I want you to hold me accountable on this, is TRANSPARENCY in office. I will always be open and honest with you – as well as straightforward, principled, and willing to build bridges. That is who I am – ask anyone that knows me. Public trust is a vital part of public service.

Let me tell you a little more about why I am so focused on taking action. I am not one for “waiting around” and “just hoping” someone else does something to make things better. I KNOW THE AMERICAN DREAM INSIDE AND OUT. And, the American Dream is not about waiting around – it is about seizing the moment and TAKING ACTION!

I grew up alternating summer vacations between my grandparents in the Western New York Finger Lakes region where my uncle raced stock cars – and then, my abuelos in Miami where the main language spoken era español. I was raised in urban AND rural communities. I’ve lived across our country. And, because I don’t sit still – I’ve had a wide range of life experiences…Most importantly – a wife, and mother. My first job was bagging groceries at Kroger, my second – slinging coffee at the local bakery. Then, working as a bilingual elementary school teacher. A lawyer. A transportation consultant.

My family moved to Jacksonville in 2011, when my husband, Husein, took a job here. We came to Jacksonville because it is one of the infrastructure hubs of the U.S. We are THRILLED to be with YOU TODAY announcing my campaign for mayor.

It is TIME TO GET MOVING because there is so much opportunity here in Jacksonville.

We are the 12th largest city in the country. The largest in the Southeast. 1 in 8 residents in Jacksonville are veterans or active duty military. Yet, our veterans have one of the lowest median incomes of the top 25 veteran cities in the country. We made a promise to our veterans that we would always have their back. So, as your Mayor, I will work to ensure that we always put our veterans first.

Jacksonville also has amazing natural assets like the beautiful St. Johns River, wonderful beaches, miles of hiking, acres of parks and fantastic weather. We have an incredible network of healthcare facilities. We have untapped talent. We are a logistics hub. We are truly the gateway to Florida, which is growing exponentially. We have unique, culturally diverse neighborhoods that are home to amazing restaurants, shops and bars. And yet we lack a cohesive long-lasting identity. We lack a vibrant downtown. We are growing organically with no consistent long-range plan.

LET’S GET MOVING Jacksonville! Let’s build a thriving, vibrant downtown that acts as the centerpiece to hold together the diverse neighborhoods that make up the city.

People from all around the country want to invest in our city. We need to welcome that investment, welcome their desire to be a part of our community. Our diversity is what makes us strong as long as we ensure that we adhere to certain principles and follow through on three clear, long-range priorities: Making the city safer for everyone; Capitalizing on funding and innovative financing to reach our goals without wasting your money; and Promoting economic development.

It’s TIME TO GET MOVING because it is absolutely critical that you trust and know your government is being smart with your money. That we are only asking for what is absolutely needed and not a penny more.

Jacksonville can Get Moving without always coming at the expense of HIGHER TAXES! That is why I opposed the increased sales tax in 2019; and doubling the gas tax twice last year.

I know firsthand from my father’s upbringing in Cuba what happens when government continues to take from its citizens without reason. I also understand based on my own upbringing why every penny a family has at the end of the day counts – not only for them, but for our society at large.

Let me be clear, Jacksonville must invest in its future, we must invest in our infrastructure, including road projects, flood mitigation, and park upgrades, but we must do so within our means – just like a family sits down and balances their checkbook.

Our growth and success shouldn’t be limited to the local tax revenue we collect. There are other ways to finance projects – just ask Tampa, Nashville, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and every other city that has far exceeded their growth expectations over the past decade. We can make this the GREATEST Southern city in the country without always turning to you to pay for it!

And, in order to become great, we also need to address the crime challenges in our city head-on. We must keep all communities safe. If people don’t feel safe playing with their kids in the front yard or at the park, don’t feel safe going to the library or taking their kids to school or waiting for a bus, then they will not feel connected to this community. You and I already know that it’s past time to GET MOVING to fix our problems in public safety.

Families cannot pursue the American Dream, like my family did, if they do not feel safe! The solution is not only funding. Of course, we need to make sure law enforcement has what it needs, full stop. And, with your help, I will become your next mayor, and I will continue to BACK THE BLUE!

As a Council Member, I fully funded JSO and directed federal money to fill in funding gaps for our SWAT team that their budget wouldn’t allow for. As a former manager at a domestic violence shelter, I know law enforcement is instrumental in protecting women and children trapped in horrendous situations.
I am so proud to have passed a landmark sex trafficking bill, and a bill that made internet gaming cafés illegal. I also passed legislation to hold those business owners who are profiting off illegal activity accountable. As your Mayor, I will work with our community, and civic and law enforcement leaders to address our problems head-on, which I have a proven record of doing.

In conclusion, it is time for us to GET MOVING on prioritizing greater economic growth in our downtown and opportunity for everyone – regardless of their background – throughout Jacksonville. We have a diverse city – geographically, racially, and ethnically.

The city has changed over the past few decades. We are now 11 percent Hispanic and we are a melting pot for people all over the world moving here to pursue the American Dream.

We have 864 square miles – everything from horse farms, to beaches, to golf communities, to historic communities, to suburbs to downtown. We cannot impose a one-size-fits-all approach to the growth and success of the city, but we can form a cohesive identity for Jacksonville that all residents can support and identify with.

The success of our city is dependent on the dreams of all its citizens. For too long our leaders have focused on their pet projects rather than stepping back to recognize the opportunities and strengths that we have collectively.

Cities flourish and succeed when there is trust in leadership and a shared vision of the future. And that trust means the leaders you elect are singularly focused on our mutual well-being and leaving the city in a better place for future generations.

Standing here over 100 years ago was a leader named Henry Flagler who had a vision for Florida. And today we stand here at the same place with a vision for Jacksonville that unifies us all. A city where its future will no longer end in renderings and strategic plans. A city where we will become a destination for those fleeing high tax, high regulation states. A city that will be home to new companies that want to leverage our workforce. A city that will be a place where people pull off I-95 to explore the best city in the South.

Let’s GET MOVING by putting the dream of all of you first!
Let’s GET MOVING by putting the growth of our city first!
Let’s GET moving to make this the greatest Southern city in our country!
It is TIME TO GET moving!

That is why I am asking for your vote as the next MAYOR OF JACKSONVILLE!