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Office Of Mayor Lenny Curry
Four More Years
Four More Years
July 02, 2019
Mayor Lenny Curry was sworn in for his second term of office as Mayor of Jacksonville on July 1, 2019. Read his full remarks from the from the Inauguration Ceremony:
Good morning. Distinguished guests, current and former elected officials, family, friends, and all of the people of our great city, I want to say thank you. Together we have accomplished much over the past four years. We have a lot to be proud of, but we have a lot of work left to do.
I stood right here on this spot in 2015 and said that four years would be gone in the blink of an eye. But I never imagined just how fast they would go. My son Boyd was 10 years old at the time and I remember the next morning, front page of the newspaper while I am taking the oath of office, a picture of him blowing a gigantic bubble on stage. Where has the time gone? Boyd is now entering high school, Tajon is entering high school, Brooke is in middle school in her second year and Bridgett is finishing up this year 5
grade, the end of elementary school. Time has really moved fast. But here is what I will tell you about these young people, these children who are in my life, my family, is that they remind me every single day about the core principle that every child in Jacksonville should have a future of opportunity and security.
And, of course, the person that stands beside me, shoulder to shoulder, Molly Curry. Molly, without your strength and without your wisdom, none of our families’ success would be possible. You drive me and make me a better person. I know that I can always come to you for honest, sincere advice. And to my mom and dad, Roy and Linda Curry, thank you for all of your love and support and everything that you have poured into me, the faith seeds that you have planted in me over the years, but most importantly you have always taught me more about what you do than what you say. I love you.
I want to thank our first responders; I think I just heard a first responder get a call. That wasn’t timed. I want to thank our first responders, the men and women of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department. I had a great appreciation of them when I came into office, but I have come to know so many of them so much better over the last four years and the bravery that they and their families put on for this city every day, we saw it on full display with the two hurricanes, Matthew and Irma. You deserve our sincere and deep gratitude from the Mayor’s Office, the city council, to everybody in this city, we thank you.
To my colleagues on city council, to those who have served with me, those who will continue to serve and those who have just been sworn in, sometimes we will agree, sometimes we will disagree and that is healthy but please know that I, and my administration stand ready to work with each and every one of you for your priorities to make sure that Jacksonville is the best city it can be, thank you for your service and thank you for being here today.
I want to thank the thousands of public employees that get up and go to work every day for this great city. You do good hard work. High performing organizations are powered by high performing people that run them and we have some amazing people at the city of Jacksonville. Since taking office I have made sure to surround myself with hard working, focused, disciplined, committed people that are focused on the mission of making Jacksonville the best city that it can be. Our bench is strong, and it is in no small part because of the man at the top: Sam Mousa.
Sam, you have been an excellent friend, advisor, and colleague these last four years. I can’t thank you enough for the invaluable guidance and friendship you have provided me over the years. I know you won’t go too far because you love this city way, way too much. I am going to miss your consistent presence at city hall. I want to thank you for the decades of service to the city of Jacksonville.
Thank you for your mentorship as well to my friend and new chief administrative officer Brian Hughes. Together Sam and Brian have built a powerful team and Brian will skillfully continue our work the next four years.
I want to thank everyone who supported me in two campaigns for mayor. Referendum for pension reform, all the big ideas, the list is too long to try to name everybody, but I want to say with deep gratitude and appreciation, I appreciate your support. I do want to point out my top strategic advisor Tim Baker. Thank you, Tim, for your commitment and dedication to our goals and our strategies, we have a lot of work left to do.
The last time I stood here I joined Sheriff Williams on this stage and took the oath of office and we laid out our shared vision for One City, One Jacksonville, a fragile idea of perfection that we remain committed to. That idea is about creating a city where every single kid has access to a great education, access to the resources they need to succeed, where every neighborhood has economic opportunities and infrastructure in place to support citizens, a city where every citizen feels safe and secure. My team and I hit the ground running with a strong sense of urgency and purpose and while we have accomplished a lot, we have so much more to do. As I have said before, good can become better and better can become best.
Together. Together as a community we have stopped the spike in violent crime with major investments and our number one priority which is public safety. In partnership with Sheriff Williams and our State Attorney Melissa Nelson, we have invested in innovative solutions, programs and technologies to enhance law enforcements efforts. We have implemented ShotSpotter, NIBIN, the Real-Time Crime Center, the Crime Gun Intelligence Center. We have invested in man power and equipment to give Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office the resources they need to protect and serve. And we have invested in prevention and intervention efforts including the launch of Cure Violence in two communities earlier this year. Our commitment to public safety will never waver. One violent crime is one violent crime too many in this city. Sheriff Williams, State Attorney Nelson and I are aligned in our efforts.
Four years ago, I committed to you sound fiscal management of our local government and I have upheld that promise and will continue to be a responsible steward to your tax dollars. In our first term we presented four balanced budgets that invested in the priorities of the neighborhoods in this city without raising taxes and we did it with unanimous votes from our city council. In two weeks, I will present city council a smart and effective budget that demonstrates our respect for the hard work of taxpayers. My team and I look forward to earning your support in the weeks ahead. Working with the state, city council, and our labor representatives and leaders and voters; we enacted a solution to our long-standing pension crisis which released the constraints that the unfunded pension liabilities were placing on our ability to invest in our community. To see what pension reform has enabled us to do; the year before I got into office there was little to no dollars invested in our C.I.P.; that is our cities’ infrastructure. My first year in office $72.6 million of that infrastructure, and our last budget doubled that. This is because of pension reform that we passed together, we are now able to resurface our roads, repair our sidewalks, improve pedestrian safety and drainage systems enhancing our parks and so much more. We are able to invest in things in this government that we are supposed to be doing that we can finally do again. Since 2015 the city has paid down hundreds of millions in debt and demonstrated sound fiscal management practices.
In this second term I will continue to lead our city with the same sense of respect for the sweat and hard work that goes into every single dollar that tax payers put into this city.
Another thing I talked about four years ago was the importance in investing in Jacksonville’s children. These are our children. I talked about demonstrating to every young person in our city that we care about them and that we love them, and they know their leadership and the people in this city are committed to them. That commitment was born out of personal experience. I remember many years ago when I was a new father and I would go to after school events or t-ball games or soccer games, church events and I would see parents, coaches, and teachers on their own time pouring their selves into other people’s children and it always stuck with me how powerful that was. Fast forward to when I was running for mayor four years ago and I am going door to door and neighborhood to neighborhood and I am meeting young people who don’t have equal opportunity in this city. Today, they still might not have equal opportunity, but that experience keeps me committed to their opportunities to have equality and opportunities to succeed. Unfortunately, I’ve met young people where carrying a gun was a natural progression in their lives, I’ve held grieving mothers whose children were shot down in the crossfire of gun violence. This is real stuff folks. We have to do more to support these young people. We have got to show them that there is another way forward. We have to break the senseless cycle of violence and I am asking all of you to step up in your way and join me as we pursue this.
This was all the motivation behind the creation of the Kids Hope Alliance that is focused on a clear mission of protecting the children of this city. I am going to continue to build on the work of the Kids Hope Alliance in the years ahead, working with our schools, community leaders and stakeholders to ensure every single child in Jacksonville has the tools and resources they need to be successful.
On election night this year, I told the people of the city of Jacksonville that in four years you won’t recognize downtown. I mean it. I am 100 percent committed to making downtown the heart of this community. A vibrant urban core will serve as a hub that will expand economic development out to neighborhoods all over this city. We are going to continue to take bold actions that will develop and reshape our urban core into the vibrant center of all of Northeast Florida.
Four years ago, I stood on this stage. I stood on this stage filled with optimism, optimism about the future of this city, how bright it could be. That optimism was because of my deep faith I have in the people of this city. Throughout our history, our citizens have proven to be bold, resilient, and so compassionate. My sense of optimism has not weakened; it is as strong as it has ever been. The people of this city bounced back from two major hurricanes inside of a year. Through those challenges I saw neighbor helping neighbors, cleaning up yard debris. I heard multiple stories of people helping with food and shelter, folks this is the demonstration in these moments of crisis what “One City. One Jacksonville.” looks like and we have to call on each other to be these people every single day.
Though we have made great progress, there are no victory laps and there is no time to pause for a pat on the back. We are going to continue to work to make our neighborhoods safer, to fuel economic growth that will put everybody on the path to prosperity. We will pull together a plan that provides families school choices and education infrastructure that gives kids the tools to thrive. We must look at our wonderful natural spaces and the splendor of our creator with a goal to preserve and protect these gifts. Above all, we will pursue our vast potential with urgency and purpose. If we do these things together, four years from today we will hand off to the next group of city leaders a place that is a step closer, many steps closer to the fragile idea that is “One City. One Jacksonville.”
I am humbled and honored to lead this city for four more years, the trust you have placed in me and the privilege I have to serve this city are gifts that guide me every day. I want to thank you for these gifts.
Before I close, four years ago I asked you to do something at the opening of my remarks that I said would be uncomfortable. And it will be uncomfortable when we do it again, if you were here you know what I am talking about. If you weren’t, get ready to be uncomfortable. Everybody grab hands. Hold a hand across the aisle. Please. On three, we are going to say, “One City, One Jacksonville” and we are going to walk out of this building committed to it.
One, two, three: “One City, One Jacksonville!”
God bless each of you and God bless the city of Jacksonville.
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