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Mayoral candidates square off on issues — crime, monuments, Downtown and others

Donna Deegan and Daniel Davis.
Donna Deegan and Daniel Davis.

Mayoral candidates Daniel Davis and Donna Deegan agreed on a number of issues during a television debate Thursday, including the need to add more police officers to the streets, increase funding for phasing out septic tanks and attract more residents and businesses to Downtown Jacksonville.

One area where the Republican Davis and Democrat Deegan differed was on Confederate monuments: Deegan said she would emulate current Mayor Lenny Curry and allocate city money to remove the monument from Springfield Park; Davis said he would not.

Davis, a former City Council member and state lawmaker, says he’d be a strong partner to Sheriff T.K. Waters, who has endorsed him, and he highlighted his experience attracting business to town through the Chamber. He listed his priorities as crime and infrastructure.

Deegan, who would be the city’s first female mayor, framed herself as a voice of opposition who will clean up what she asserts is a widely viewed culture of corruption in city government and bring in those who have historically been “left behind” when it comes to economic development. Her priorities are infrastructure, public health and small business.

Read the candidates' thoughts on a wide range of issues — the Black Lives Matter movement, panhandling, veterans’ services and more — in the Jacksonville Today voter guide to the mayor race.

Claire joined WJCT as a reporter in August 2021. She was previously the local host of NPR's Morning Edition at WUOT in Knoxville, Tennessee. During her time in East Tennessee, her coverage of the COVID pandemic earned a Public Media Journalists’ Association award for investigative reporting. You can reach Claire at (904) 250-0926 or on Twitter @ClaireHeddles.