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One-on-one with Jacksonville mayoral candidate Al Ferraro

First Coast News is sitting down with the candidates aiming to lead the city of Jacksonville. In the coming days, you'll hear from seven of those men and women.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Al Ferraro is one of four republicans vying to become the city's next mayor. He is currently serving his eighth year on the Jacksonville City Council representing District 2.

“I'm the American dream,” Ferraro said. “I started off with my own business, worked my way up from cutting grass to running for mayor.”

Why do you want to be mayor and what sets you apart from your competitors?

“I want to help out the community immensely. Being in City Council, I've seen the things that work, and I see the things that don't work. And what I want to do is I want to eliminate the things that are not working that are going against the taxpayers. And I want to see what things fixed.”

Things like improving roads, drainage, bridges and addressing homelessness. At the top of his list is reducing crime to keep the community safe.

“Crime is the biggest thing I think facing Jacksonville and corruption in the city kind of hand in hand,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro would like to see the Jacksonville's Sheriff's Office budget increase to add more officers to the streets to meet the needs of a growing city.

“We have between 2500 and 4500 hundred people moving here every two weeks, with the amount of permits that we're putting through. So, we're growing substantially. And if we don't grow the police department, again, we're already stretched right now,” Ferraro said. “To answer your question, we need to increase it. But we need to put probably 200 to 250 more police officers minimum on the street.”

As for the multimillion stadium renovations at TIAA Bank Field he says he would only support a deal that works for the citizens of Jacksonville.

“I'm the only person running for mayor who said no to Lot J when that came forward. It didn't make sense for the city because the amount of money that was going forward, I could not go in front of taxpayers and say that this money was used wisely. This will probably be funded by the citizens of Jacksonville because it is a city asset. So, there's a couple things that need to be done. One, we have to have a deal that works good for the city. Two that we have a plan that keeps the Jaguars here.”

And as mayor he says he would work to make sure JEA is not sold.

“I will tell you, JEA is going to be a target for the next administration coming in here. And if we're not watching it, and we don't really look and understand how it's going to be sold by a death of 1000 cuts, we're going to have a big problem on our hands with that,” Ferraro said. “JEA is such a big asset to our whole community that I will make sure it does not get sold.”  

Jacksonville City Elections are March 21. Check out the First Coast News Voter Guide to see all the races on the ballot and learn more about the candidates.

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