The grassroots group looking to elect more women to the Jacksonville City Council says it is having success in recruiting new candidates.
Political group "9 in 15" held a meeting Thursday evening to encourage more qualified women—and men—to throw their hat into the ring.
Prospective candidates and supporters heard from speakers like former Jacksonville Children’s Commission Director Linda Lanier and University of North Florida political science professor Matt Corrigan, who talked about what it takes to run for office.
They also spoke about why more qualified women and men should be encouraged to do so. There are currently three female members on the 19 member City Council; from 1999-2003 the majority of members were women.
With a year until elections, 16 women out of 47 candidates, or 34 percent, have filed to run.
Carol Thompson, coordinator for "9 in 15," says one of the keys to recruitment is to let women know they can win with the right campaign and effort.
"Women have a tendency to think 'Maybe I'm not qualified,' or that somebody else would be in a better position," she said. "I think that's one of reasons that women don't get elected."
"They don't run as often and that's one of the things that we're trying to change."
The "9 in 15" group is non-partisan, but will help qualified candidates, both men and women, with training and fundraising.
The filing deadline for Jacksonville’s 2015 spring city elections is July 13.
The First Election in March 14, 2015 and the General Election is May 19.
A candidate who wins a majority in the First Election is declared the winner, otherwise the top two vote getters move on to the General Election.
All candidates regardless of party affiliation appear on the same ballot.
You can follow Kevin Meerschaert on Twitter @KMeerschaertJax.