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Councilman Reggie Gaffney Files To Run For Florida Senate Minority Leader's Seat

Ray Troncoso
Gaffney celebrates the demolition of the Berkman 2 building in this July 15, 2021, file photo.

Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney has announced his 2022 candidacy for Florida State Senate.  

In an expected move, Gaffney announced Thursday he’s running for Florida Senate District 6.  Senate Minority Leader, Democrat Audrey Gibson, is term limited from running for the seat again. 

The district covers much of Jacksonville’s Northside and Westside, as well as San Marco.

Gaffney, also a Democrat, is a District 7 Councilman who was elected in 2015. According to his City Council biography, Gaffney co-founded the nonprofit Community Rehabilitation Center nearly 30 years ago, which today provides primary and behavioral healthcare as well as social services and economic development opportunities to those faced with employment barriers. He said he created the nonprofit  because of “the need to address a highly under-served community of disenfranchised people faced with challenges stemming from mental illness, substance abuse as well as HIV/AIDS on Jacksonville's Northside.”

His previous appointed posts include serving as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jacksonville Port Authority.

If elected, he said he’ll focus on food insecurity, as well as social inequality and injustice.

“I want to focus on those who need my help – to some, that may be a member of their household who needs mental wellness resources. To others, it may be a single parent trying to make ends meet, or getting the resources needed to care for an aging parent suffering from chronic illness. As a Senator, I will work to pass meaningful reform on these issues,” he said in an email to WJCT News, announcing his candidacy.

The only other declared candidate in the Florida Senate District 6 race is Democrat Brooklyn Owen, a young progressive who would be the first transgender woman elected to the Florida Senate.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP