Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci announced Thursday that he will be running for mayor in 2023 and he tells WJCT News that addressing climate change and sea level rise would be a priority for his administration.
Over the past year or so, Carlucci has been a catalyst in City Hall for starting conversations about making Jacksonville more resilient to flooding, sea level rise and the other effects of climate change.
He also played a critical role in getting the city’s Special Committee on Resiliency up and running and served as chair of that committee for the first several months of its existence.
Councilwoman Randy DeFoor has since taken over as chair, but Carlucci still holds a leadership position in the committee serving as chair of the Subcommittee on Environmental Planning.
The first major action to come out of that committee was the recommendation that Jacksonville hire a chief resilience officer (CRO), which the city is now on track to do.
“I promised my constituents when I was running that I would make sure we had a chief resiliency officer hired here in Jacksonville,” Carlucci said. “Now we’re fixing to hire our first chief resiliency officer.”
Mayor Lenny Curry has included funding in this year’s budget to hire a CRO, though — after pushback from members of Curry’s administration — the legislation creating the position was not as bold as what Carlucci and DeFoor had hoped for.
Jacksonville was on track to have a CRO in 2016 thanks to funding from the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative. However, shortly after Mayor Curry took office, the city dropped out of the program, which awarded cities around the world $1 million to address extreme weather, crime and sea level rise.
Carlucci said, if elected, protecting Jacksonville and its residents from the impacts of climate change would be a priority.
“Probably, of all the issues that we’ve got that affects the future generations, resilience is a real big one,” he said. “So it’ll be a big part of my administration.”