Following his success in the August primary, Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum says he believes he’ll win Duval County in the general election.
Gillum was in Jacksonville on Monday, September 10 for a fundraiser and to meet with supporters and volunteers. The Mayor of Tallahassee also stopped by WJCT that evening to record an interview with Jonathan Capehart for WNYC’s new show America on the Line.
“I owe Jacksonville a lot. It came out for me big time,” Gillum said. “And it was one of the first places I wanted to go after becoming the nominee to just express my appreciation.”
While heading to a meeting in Tampa, Gillum told WJCT he’s no stranger to Jacksonville.
“Now I have family over there,” he said. “I’ve got a sibling. I’ve got aunts. My grandmother lives there. It’s not a place that is foreign to me. But in the totality of running statewide, it was extremely heartening to me to see Jacksonville show up and support at the level that they did. I believe we’re going to win Duval County in the general election.”
After seeing how well he did in the August primary, Gillum said he decided he wanted to double down on his efforts in Duval County to make sure he does win the area come November.
“The showing that we had there demonstrated for us that there really is a strong appetite in Duval County for our message and what we’re trying to fight for on behalf of every day working people,” said Gillum. “And that level of support, we want to expand on, we want to build on and we want to turn out as much of the vote as we possibly can.”
One issue that has taken center stage in Florida politics recently is gun violence. According to Gillum, mass shootings like the one that happened at the Jacksonville Landing aren’t the only issue. Every day shootings like what happened at a Raines High School football game last month also need to be addressed.
“I think the solution is going to be different to address those two different forms of gun violence,” Gillum said. “But, specifically to the shooting at the Landing and also at the high school football game, we’ve got to ensure that we’re getting our young people the kind of support that they need. Secondly, that we’re doing some of the important things like background checks. For anybody who wants to carry the power of God on their waist belt, and I don’t care how they get to the point of attaining a gun, that they at least ought to have to complete a background check, and even some mental health check, to ensure that they’re the right kind of folks who should have access to that kind of deadly power.”
Gillum said that in order to deal with the pervasive forms of gun violence that happen regularly in Duval County, the state has to ensure that young people can get jobs and any training they might need. He pointed to two programs he spearheaded in Tallahassee: the 1000 Mentors Initiative and a summer jobs program called the Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy (TFLA).
Gillum said those programs were designed to target youth living in the areas of the community that saw the highest crime rates. “Because we recognized that once our young people lose hope and they no longer feel like they have anything to live or die for, then they make reckless decisions that lead to pervasive violence and criminality, which unfortunately has become too familiar, not just in Duval County, but around the state,” Gillum said.
Gillum also reiterated that he would not resign from his current position as Mayor of Tallahassee.
“I was elected Mayor and I think the people of my community are proud to have me as mayor,” he said. “They showed as much in their vote in the primary election. I’m going to complete my job. I’m going to do the job that I was elected to do.”
Gillum admitted that serving as mayor and simultaneously running to become Florida’s next governor is a challenging juggling act, but, he said, “I signed up for it, so no room to complain.”