City Council President Tommy Hazouri come out of surgery for lung transplant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Early Saturday morning City Council President Tommy Hazouri underwent surgery for a lung transplant at the Mayo Clinic, according to a statement from his office.

According to his office, the doctor said that Hazouri is on the road to recovery.

Statement from the office of Tommy Hazouri:

“Early this morning Council President Tommy Hazouri underwent surgery for a lung transplant at The Mayo Clinic. We’re pleased to announce the attending doctor characterized the procedure as a success and the Councilman is already on his road to recovery.

As President Hazouri undergoes rehabilitation, Council Vice President Sam Newby will assume the role as Acting President.

The Hazouri family thanks the Jacksonville community for its well wishes and Tommy, in typical Tommy-fashion, looks forward to getting back to work.”

Councilman Sam Newby now becomes acting president while Brenda Priestly-Jackson who is on the chair of the rules committee becomes acting vice-president.

Newby says he’s prepared for the challenge as his colleague recovers.

“I’ve been preparing myself ever since I got elected in May to one day -- that I probably would have to take over if something was to happen,” said Newby.

Council President Hazouri served in the Florida House of Representatives for 12 years and as Mayor of Jacksonville for four years.

Most recently Hazouri pressed the mayor’s office for answers about health and safety regarding the coronavirus, as the Republican National Convention was coming to Jacksonville -- before it was canceled on Friday.

Councilman Newby tested positive for COVID-19 back in March and knew seeing more cases of the virus pop up recently was a major problem, but he’s now healthy and ready for his new challenge.

“Now I’m eating better. I’m exercising 4 days a week, so I’m actually in better shape now than I was before I got COVID-19.”

Newby told Action News Jax Hazouri is expected to return sometime soon but another councilman believes that number is about two months.

City Council Vice President Sam Newby released a statement as well:

“We are certainly praying for the speedy and complete recovery and return of our beloved City Council President T. Hazouri. I’m honored, as Vice President, to serve in his stead, until the President is released by doctors to return.

I look forward to serving my colleagues on the Council, the Administration and the citizens of our Beautiful City!”