Carlucci casts hat into 2023 Mayor’s race

Matt Carlucci and his wife, Karen
Matt Carlucci and his wife, Karen

Although the next Mayor’s race is two years away, Matt Carlucci has already cast his hat into the ring. The Group 4 At-Large Councilman, who has lived in San Marco all his life, announced his bid to replace term-limited Mayor Lenny Curry Jan. 14. He is the first candidate to declare his intention to go after the top spot in the 2023 race.

Carlucci, a Republican, said he believes he can lead Jacksonville in a nonpartisan way. In 2019, he won his At-Large seat with 72% of the vote, and his past experience shows he is no stranger to Jacksonville politics. He has held a seat on the Jacksonville Council four terms and 16 years – once as District 5 Councilman and three terms – 12 years – in At-Large positions. He has also run for mayor once before, in 2003, when he finished third against Mayor John Peyton and Nat Glover.

In a way, running for office is a Carlucci family tradition. His late father, Joseph Carlucci, Sr., was elected to the first consolidated Jacksonville City Council and eventually the Florida Senate. Carlucci, like his father before him, owns a State Farm Insurance Agency in San Marco.

“I think the City of Jacksonville is looking for a change in its city leadership,” Carlucci said. “I think our government needs a new direction, and I feel that for the people I talk to because they no longer trust our leaders to make decisions in their interest. Part of the reason for that is they have seen big issues where the policies and procedures have been ignored or circumvented and so much goes on behind closed doors. It seems like the city has gone from ditch to ditch, drama to drama, with the people always being left out of the equation. I just think it is time to get out of the ditch, to get the drama out, and put the people in.”

If he wins, Carlucci said his administration would be a “bottom-up” style government as opposed to a top-down form of command. “We will have a big emphasis on what the people want and what they think,” he said. 

Organized community conversation is important to Carlucci. He has been the Jacksonville City Council Finance Chairman four times. His community approach was reflected in the way he set up the city’s new Resiliency Committee, allowing for residents who were interested to volunteer and take part on various subcommittees. 

“No voice will be silenced,” he said, adding that his leadership will stand on four pillars – integrity, transparency, public involvement, and action. “By action I mean that I am going to surround myself with some really smart people, and it will be a diverse group of people so that it looks like Jacksonville,” he said.

“We’re going to start building this city up. And when you use that approach, it dovetails into the overall theme of my campaign, ‘Jacksonville is better when we move together.’ I want to move us into the future by being guided by those principles.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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