• Jacksonville mayor makes first, only debate appearance; spars with political rival Anna Brosche

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    For the first and last time, all four candidates for Jacksonville mayor lined the stage for a debate Wednesday night.

    The debate was held in the Terry Concert Hall on the Jacksonville University campus.

    Political rivals Councilwoman Anna Brosche and Mayor Lenny Curry stood side by side on the stage, with candidates Omega Allen and Jimmy Hill on each side.

    Brosche immediately went on the attack on Curry, who did not attend an Action News Jax mayoral debate last week.

    Brosche was asked about fixing violent crime.

    “I want to thank Lenny Curry for joining the conversation that we’ve been having for weeks,” Brosche said.

    Brosche also went after Curry’s financial priorities, and the mayor fought back.

    “The conversation from the councilwoman and priorities in the budget, she’s been on City Council for four years, City Council president,” Curry said.  “No legislation for public safety, no amendments to change investments where you believe investments should be made.”

    “I cannot establish my own budget,” Brosche replied.  “That is the mayor’s responsibility.

    “The City Council gave this mayor what he asked for, and the reason that our numbers and our crime stats are what they are is because his priorities are out of line,” she added.

    Their bad blood boiled over during the controversy over selling JEA last year.

    Brosche said she wouldn't sell, and accused the mayor of being behind it all.

    “He positioned JEA for a sale by purging the board, replacing those board members with his cronies, and then getting his cronies to select his friend and political contributor as its CEO,” Brosche said.

    “This is just more politics,” Curry replied.

    Brosche was pressed on her involvement in a sunshine law investigation.

    As Action News Jax told you last month, according to findings from the State Attorney’s Office, there were 454 calls between Brosche and Councilmember Garrett Dennis in a nearly year-long period in 2017 and 2018.

    No charges were filed.

    “I have never violated the sunshine laws and will not,” Brosche said.

    “I believe [the moderator’s] question was about a criminal investigation,” Curry said.  “The facts are there was a criminal investigation, the councilwoman was under that for almost a year.”

    “It was the mayor’s administration that launched this investigation because he wanted to make sure that I didn’t run for office,” Brosche replied.

    Early voting continues until March 17. Election Day is March 19.


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