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Randy White Sworn In As Jacksonville’s Newest Councilman After Running Unopposed In Primary

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Brendan Rivers
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WJCT News
Councilman Randy White being sworn in at City Hall

Former fire chief Randy White was officially sworn in on Wednesday afternoon after running unopposed in last month’s primary for the Jacksonville City Council District 12 seat.

The seat was left vacant by former city councilman Doyle Carter, who resigned to run for Duval County tax collector. Carter came in third in that race with 12.48 percent of the vote. Democrat Mia L. Jones, who got 46.12 percent of the vote, and Republican Jim Overton, who got 21.37 percent, will be the candidates in November’s runoff election for the position.

White is a native of Jacksonville’s Westside, the area he’ll now represent in the City Council. He worked for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department for 32 years before retiring in 2011 as the Deputy Director Assistant Fire Chief. He also served as the president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters from 2002 to 2003.

Speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s swearing in, White laid out some of his priorities.

“My top priority will be public safety,” White said. “I was a fire chief, had 32 years in the fire department, so public safety is my main thing.”

White believes his career uniquely prepared him to address public safety issues. He said people who haven’t worked as first responders don’t understand the split second decisions that firefighters and police officers have to make.

“Some people don’t understand the funds they need to make things happen and to make the streets safe,” said White. “I think that’s government’s number one priority is public safety. So you’re safe at your house and I’m safe at my house. If you call 911, the baby ain’t breathing, you want somebody there fast.”

Speaking of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, White said, “they all do a good job and I will support them 100 percent and help them continue to get what they need so they can protect us.”

White said he doesn’t have any specific public safety policies in mind at this point, but he plans to study the budget to see what local agencies may or may not need.

White also said he wants to focus on the growth of the Cecil Commerce Center.

“Cecil, I think, is the golden nugget for Jacksonville,” White said. “I want to work on things in Cecil.”

White hopes Cecil Commerce Center will help bring more jobs, restaurants and hotels to the area.

District 12’s new representative also said he wants to be there to help what he calls “the small guy.”

“It’s tough, but everybody knows you almost need to know somebody to get something done, even if it’s a ditch being cleaned out,” said White. “And I want to be that guy.”

White will attend his first City Council Committee meeting on Wednesday evening.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.