No incumbent, two opponents for Dist. 13

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  • | 12:00 p.m. April 1, 2003
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by J. Brooks Terry

Staff Writer

Despite the fact that the race for the newly-drawn City Council Dist. 13 has only two candidates, it is no less competitive. The candidates — both Republicans — say they have the best interest for the district at heart. There is no incumbent for the seat.

The district is lengthy, running from Deerwood through the beaches.

Arthur Graham

Though Art Graham’s first run at a public office led to victory when he ran for the Jacksonville Beach City Council in 1998, he was no stranger to public service. Graham announced his candidacy in January.

“I believe that this is the perfect time to run for City Council,” said Graham. “We’re going though a lot of changes and there are so many opportunities for downtown. I want to be there.”

Graham said that his engineering background will serve him well if elected because it will allow him to “answer and ask the right questions.”

“Local government is a lot like the work that I have been doing for many, many years,” he said. “You’ve got to make sure that everyone who should be concerned with an issue is informed and involved.”

Graham, who moved to Jacksonville in 1990, regularly participates in community organizations including the Jacksonville Beach Planning Commission, the Jacksonville Beaches Rotary Club and the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

If elected, Graham has said he wants to make sure that the Better Jacksonville Plan is managed well and has also targeted the quality of education in Duval County’s schools.

“I know that, on the Council, there isn’t a lot that you can do with schools directly,” he said. “But there are plenty of things that we all can do to help.”

While serving on the Jacksonville Beach City Council, Graham helped create the Jacksonville Beach police department’s Community Response Team, which successfully cleaned up problem areas and was also a strong advocate for the Zero Tolerance policy.

“My years as a Jacksonville City Councilman showed me the power of bringing people together,” said Graham. “I am the best candidate for the office because I understand how to plan and I have a vision for Jacksonville’s future.”

Holly Kartsonis

While Holly Kartsonis is confident that District 13 will undergo substantial changes over the next 10 years, she said the management of that growth will be critical to its success. This is her second political campaign after losing a State House race to Don Davis.

“We are in a great position for growth right now,” said Kartsonis, who has been in Jacksonville for nearly 20 years. “But growth is more than just an aesthetics issue, it’s a safety issue. If we’re not careful, we’re going to find ourselves in the same position that Atlanta and Orlando are in right now.”

Kartsonis had been active in Jacksonville while participating on the Governor’s Task Force on the Florida Education Funding Program, the Mayor’s Charter Revision Commission, the 9A Park Planning Committee and the Neighborhood Finance Committee. She is currently the director of administrative services for the Duval County Health Department.

Kartsonis said that she got into the Council race for one reason.

“It may sound like a cliche, but I want to promote the quality of life in Jacksonville,” she said. “The neighborhoods in Dist. 13 need a voice because we’re all a part of this city.”

Kartsonis has devised her own “Five Points Better Jax Plan.” On it, she outlined a need to protect Jacksonville’s green space, develop safe classrooms, improve health care, attract higher paying jobs and, in accomplishing those goals, act fiscally responsible.

“The voters should know that I’m a qualified and experienced candidate who has the tenacity to represent. I’m not tied down to any special interest groups, I’m here to represent the people.”



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