City Council member Daniel Davis, also executive director of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, was selected by local Republican leaders to replace former State Rep. Jennifer Carroll to represent District 13 in the Florida Legislature.
Carroll is joining Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Davis was Council president in 2007 and chairs the Cityís Finance Committee this year during the budget process. He submitted his Council resignation effective Sept. 22.
He takes the House seat in November.
What have the last few weeks been like for you?
A whirlwind. Iím really trying to look forward and understand what the issues are and using my experience to help tackle them, especially with the economy and job growth.
When did you know Rick Scott was considering Carroll and what happened when you did?
Weíve been working for a little while on the possibility (of Carrollís seat becoming available) and had a solid infrastructure on all the races. We knew it could happen, but thought there would be a special election. When we found out (the process of filling the seat), we had to shift gears again.
Who gave you the call that you had been selected, and were you anxious leading up to the decision?
Of course, anyone would be. It came down to the final day and I actually went to the meeting (where the decision was made). It was a very smooth meeting and everyone has been very supportive.
What are your personal feelings on the selection?
Itís a new ball game. Itís going to be different getting acclimated driving to Tallahassee with a new job, but I have experience over there with the builders. My family and kids are excited to get over there and see it.
Youíve been in the thick of City budget issues the past few months. Was it hard to turn your focus?
Weíve got a lot of great Council members working hard, but it has to be a single focus. You canít have your feet in both camps and be effective.
How do you think the City budget process has gone?
Good, but thereís still more work to be done. I think there are still some savings out there that will be found and I believe it will be passed.
What are some of the issues youíll be addressing first in the Legislature?
The No. 1 thing is we need to look at every piece of regulation on business and have to decide if it is necessary or not. Itís about jobs and weíve got to reduce things that are stopping business, both large and small, from growing.
Have you talked with Carroll since your selection? Did she give you any advice and will you be pursuing anything in particular she was working on?
I had the chance to see her Friday night and she gave me some advice. Thereís nothing in particular Iíll be pursuing, but itís safe to say that her philosophy and mine are very alike in taking conservative approaches.
Looking back on your time with Council, is there an accomplishment or piece of legislation that stands out to you?
Overall, itís been a pleasure to have the opportunity to serve the community and watch out for them at City Hall. Iím proud of the fact weíve brought jobs to Jacksonville and successes like Cecil Commerce Center and bringing the industrial community here.
Any advice in particular youíve been given since your selection thatís been pertinent?
Well, I still have about 20 voice mails to check, but all of the advice has been good. Much of itís about being a quick learner and staying true to the conservative message, which I am on both fronts.
Will you still retain your position with the Northeast Florida Builders Association? What are some of the things youíll undertake with that hat on?
Yes, I am. The truth is, everyone in my industry wants the same thing others do: to create jobs. Jobs mean greater income and more consumer confidence. While itís two different hats, (Legislature and NEFBA), itís the same goal.