If you follow me on Twitter, you know I occasionally share motivational quotes. One of my favorites is from Tony Robbins: “The path to success is to take massive determined action.”
The idea is that if you set a goal, and tirelessly pursue it with focus and passion, success is inevitable. This is the principle with which I’ve led my administration the last two years.
Jacksonville is a city with enormous potential. We are frequently reminded of this by our great economic momentum. It seems that nearly every week there’s a ribbon cutting or announcement of more jobs and investments in our community.
But we are not without our obstacles. The challenge is in how to overcome these barriers and maximize Jacksonville’s promise.
When I took office, our massive pension debt was consuming our budgets. Nearly 20 percent of our total operating budget was going toward pensions, instead of being invested in services and infrastructure that benefit communities. For us to be able to focus and invest in our key priorities, we first needed to stabilize city finances and solve the pension problem.
My team came up with a bold solution, and we pursued that goal with massive determined action. Along the way we won the support of the state legislature, Governor Rick Scott, Jacksonville voters, employee unions, and a unanimous City Council.
Now that the pension problem is solved, we can focus attention and resources on another obstacle to our full potential: violence.
Public safety remains my top priority as mayor. For our communities to thrive, they need to be safe. We’ve made significant investments in the last two years. We’ve increased manpower and pursued new, innovative technologies to help law enforcement protect and serve. We also increased investments in crime prevention and intervention initiatives, with a strong focus on effectiveness and return on investment.
Progress has been made, but there is still so much more to do – especially among our youth. It is the single most important issue affecting our community. And it’s the issue that motivates me every day. Too many of our kids are lost to senseless violence.
This is a citywide issue. We all have an interest in protecting these children. They are Jacksonville’s children. Their future is our future. Their promise is our promise. We must do more to support our youth, and we will.
Two years have come and gone. And I remain fully committed to the people of Jacksonville.