Off To The Races: Tom Patton for City Council
And the question I’ve most often been asked as I’ve gone through this process is “why in the world would you want to do that?”
It’s a valid question, and one that I’m sure I’ll be answering in greater detail over the next several months. But for now, let me give you the 30-thousand foot view.
I honestly never actually imagined that I’d run for public office. I’ve made a career out of sitting across the table from men and women who had, and asking “what are you going to do about this?” Over the course of those years, I developed a deep respect for those who had the best interests of the city at heart, and who worked hard to represent their constituencies to the best of their ability.
Jacksonville has been my home for more than a decade and this is where I plan to spend the rest of my life. During my time here, I’ve become acutely aware of many of the city’s issues. As a member of the broadcast media, I always took a lot of pride in the opportunity I was given to do my part to help address those issues, but there is still a great deal of work to be done.
That's why I have chosen to voluntarily move to the other side of the table… the one where people like me are going to be asking “what are you going to do about this?”
The key issues in this campaign are well known. Job creation tops the agenda, and it’s an issue with which I have some fairly recent experience. Over the course of the last two years, both incomes in our household fell victim to the faltering economy, and while we are well on the road to recovery, I know that there are still far too many people who are struggling to find employment.
Education, of course, ties into employment, and too many of our students and schools are struggling as well. While education is largely the purview of the school board, the city has a huge stake in a well-educated workforce. All that is played out against a budget that will lag behind any actual recovery simply because of its structure. Getting the city’s fiscal house in order will be another theme that will be discussed at length over the next seven months.
I’ve been asked “why run now, when there are so many difficult choices to be made?” My response is “what better time to try to make a difference.”
I am a political newcomer, at least on this side of the table. Maybe that's what makes this a little more daunting for me, because I know what’s coming. I like to think I’ve doled it out pretty well over the past 20 or so years, but I have endeavored at all times to be fair. That is how I hope to approach my time on the City Council… with an open mind and a willingness to hear all sides of an issue.
There will be plenty of time for campaign speeches and discussions of policy. That’s not the purpose of this article or this announcement.
I will be taking a hiatus from The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show in order to focus my energy on this campaign. And of course, I do still have to work for a living. But I also feel called to offer what I can to public service, to give something back to the community in which, out of all the places I’ve been, I’ve chosen to put down roots and call home.
So, I suppose I should close by saying “I’m Tom Patton… and I approved this message.”