Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Representing All the People

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Representing All the People

Article excerpt

Byline: Councilwoman Glorious Johnson

When I decided to run for office, I did so because it was my firm conviction that average citizens and taxpayers were not getting adequate or fair representation from their local government.

I also knew that I could not rely on the long-standing power structure in Jacksonville to help me win a seat on the City Council. Its support and money were generally reserved for the candidates they knew would likely do their bidding.

If I were to win, I would have to appeal to the everyday people of Jacksonville; the small business owners, teachers, construction workers, secretaries, working moms and dads of all economic levels, of every race and every religion. My campaign would be one of boots on the ground. That is what I needed to do and that is what I did.

My desire was to represent all the people, including those who felt they were without a voice in local city government. The ones who felt their needs and desires were being overrun by big business and large corporate enterprises.

There were many people who felt that no one was listening to them. So I spoke with and embraced everyone. I did more than kiss babies. I went to the communities themselves. I embraced the diversity of the citizenry of Jacksonville and the citizens embraced me.

I visited the young and elderly, went to their homes, their clubs, ate dinner with them, attended their churches and as a black woman I took it upon myself to make sure that I reached out to all racial groups, including people who called themselves "rednecks."

They were perhaps the group most surprised by my willingness to know them, reach across perceived racial boundaries and take to heart their concerns. As a result, they embraced my candidacy, worked for my campaign and, in a lighthearted move of friendship, proclaimed me an "honorary redneck."

I am just as proud to represent them as every other hardworking citizen in the city. I will never forget how hard the average citizen worked for me.

Now as a councilwoman at large, I remember the ones I am fighting for and will always respect their time and efforts to get me elected, no matter who they are. …

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