Mayor-elect Deegan announces diverse transition team

Published on May 26, 2023 at 10:03 am

Jacksonville Mayor-elect Donna Deegan has announced the leaders of her transition team, six people she said she selected to represent Jacksonville’s political diversity.

“They are a brilliant group of leaders who collectively embody our guiding values, the culture we strive to create,” Deegan said during a news conference Thursday. “They come from across the political spectrum and all work with relentless optimism to lift our city, to bring this beautiful mosaic we call Jacksonville together for its greatest good.”

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The co-chairs are:

Lakesha Burton, a retired 24-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. She is the first woman to be executive director of the Police Athletic League and the fourth African American woman in Sheriff’s Office history to become an assistant chief. She ran unsuccessfully for sheriff last fall.

Former Mayor John Delaney, currently president of Flagler College in St. Augustine. Delaney served as mayor from 1995 to 2003 and spearheaded the $2.5 billion Better Jacksonville Plan, which gave the city new infrastructure, parks and buildings. He also served as president of the University of North Florida.

Kevin Gay, who founded Operation New Hope and led the organization as CEO from 1999 to 2022. Under his leadership, Operation New Hope helped more than 10,000 individuals affected by the criminal justice system successfully reconnect to the workforce.

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Former Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover, the first Black sheriff elected in Florida since the Reconstruction era. He was inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame and served as president of Edward Waters College.

David Miller, co-founder and executive chairman of Brightway Insurance, one of the largest property and casualty insurance agencies in the country. He served as the Emerald Trail Co-Champion, worked with local leaders on LiftJax, and founded OurJax.

Darnell Smith, North Florida market president at Florida Blue. He has served on boards of the Sulzbacher Center, Communities in Schools of Florida, the Florida Blue Foundation, Cathedral Arts Project, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and JAX Chamber.

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