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One-on-one with mayoral candidate Daniel Davis

With early voting underway in Jacksonville's city elections, we are profiling the candidates for mayor so you can be informed before casting your ballot.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Daniel Davis grew up on Jacksonville's Westside as the son of a pastor and the youngest of five children. 

He served on the Jacksonville City Council, in the Florida State House, and led the Northeast Florida Builders Association. For the last decade, Davis has served as CEO of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. 

"Really the citizens are selecting the next CEO of the city of Jacksonville and I have 25 years of experience to be able to hit the ground running day one," Davis told First Coast News

Davis's political platform is based on public safety, building the economy, education, and improving the city's infrastructure. 

"We need to make workforce housing a part of our infrastructure program. If we're bringing people here, creating jobs, and they can't afford the apartment they live in....what are we doing as a community?  I think we need to look at that in our capital improvement plan as well."

On the topic of infrastructure, a new poll from the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida reveals 61% of voters somewhat or strongly oppose using millions of dollars in public funds to help with the Jaguars stadium renovations. 

Davis says he plans to negotiate on behalf of the people.  

 "We are going to have a very fair deal.  We're going to have a very transparent deal and it's going to be a deal that everybody in the city can get behind."

But, it's what's happening outside the stadium and on our streets that's a concern for voters. That same poll shows voters believe crime is the most important problem facing Jacksonville and a solution is needed. 

"My thought would be we bring the community back into city hall to discuss how we can do that.  We bring city hall out into the community to make sure we understand what's happening.  But, we also put police officers on the street to keep you safe."

When it comes to putting more law enforcement on city streets, Davis says there needs to be more discussion about how to do that without breaking the bank. 

"We can add more officers to the street while we are keeping our taxes low and keeping the expenses at city hall low."

Davis has faced criticism for being absent at some candidate forums, such as the D.W. Perkins Bar Association candidate forum.

"I measure everything in my campaign based on could I be at somebody's front door talking to them about what they need in this community. My opponents can criticize all they want, but we know what we're doing and what's most effective and that's what we're going to continue to do."

Davis knows politics can get divisive. He's been on both ends of some ugly campaign ads. However, he thinks it's worth going through the process to be the next mayor.  

"I think the citizens are tired of it.  I think voters are tired of it.  I think we should be talking about more policy-based issues like we're talking about today.  I can't wait to get to that point where we get on the other side and we can serve the citizens."

First Coast News also asked Davis whether he supports removing confederate monuments.  He says he doesn't believe tax dollars should be used to do it and he believes there are some private sector solutions to the issue.

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