OPINION | Love him or hate him, Dean Black continues to shape the narrative – Jacksonville Today

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In this new era of Jacksonville politics, one local Republican, with a divided government and Mayor Donna Deegan still struggling to achieve much of her agenda, continues the narrative: state Rep. and Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black.

In many ways, he is the polar opposite of what Rep. Blake Deegan campaigned on. Degan’s election promises to usher in an era of liberal governance at City Hall. “Hope,” “change for the better” and of course “love” are the latest in Jacksonville’s “agent of change” under a Democrat mayor.

I have published my thoughts on Degan’s disconnection related to these promises.

On the other hand, black represents the safest-republican seat of government house For Nassau and rural northern and western Duval County. A rancher, farmer and local businessman by trade, Black’s loud, booming voice and preachy-humor style of speech fit perfectly with his conservative politics.

In his short time in the legislature, Black has made a habit of ruffling the feathers of various Democratic constituencies — and he’s enjoying it. His landmark achievement last year was HB 1445, or the “paycheck protection” bill, which took action against Florida’s teachers unions, including banning the automatic deduction of union dues from paychecks.

The Donna Deegan/Dean Black relationship was meant to be rocky. In late August, in a desperate attempt to save her nominee for general counsel, Deegan held a press conference that surprised even her closest allies. The mayor blames her problems (advisor Tim Baker and ex-chief Brian Hughes) and her favorite boogies, ironically black.

She said Black told her in a private conversation. Anyone who did not support a Republican standard-bearer in the last election should not get another Republican vote.

Keep in mind that in addition to serving as a state legislator, Black is the chairman of the Duval County Republican Party. Republicans who defect to support Democrats are, by definition and his job description, his political enemies. For Black, the longest-serving local GOP chairman of 50 years — who announced last year that his current term would be his last — the new mayor’s comments are the political equivalent of putting the ball on the tee for him.

On many of the scoring issues since, Black — not Deegan — has led the conversation.

Deegan campaigned heavily to remove the “Southland Women” statue in Springfield Park. But now her exact plan for what to do in office is a mystery, and she’s beginning to sense Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War.

On the other hand, black took the leadership of the conversation. His proposal, co-sponsored by Rep. Webster Barnaby and Senate co-sponsor Jonathan Martin, would protect not just the Springfield monument, but all historic monuments and memorials in Florida, and would punish local elected officials for violating that law.

Also, earlier this year when Deegan served as the mayor’s first grand marshal at the River City Pride Parade, black — wait for it — rained on the mayor’s parade. He raised his right wing and sounded the alarm During the event, condoms are thrown on the children. “It’s wrong for our mayor to sexually engage children,” Black said at the time.

In the most significant foreign policy development of the past decade, Black — not Deegan — led a pro-Israel rally on the steps of City Hall. It was a humid Florida afternoon and hundreds of black and other Republican voters gathered in front of ten pro-Palestinian protesters to express their support for Israel. Deegan, in contrast, issued a brief statement three days after the Hamas attack and has remained largely silent on the matter since then.

Liberals roll their eyes at the black message, but it speaks to a clear and still broad conservative electorate in Jacksonville.

At the same time, mayors have historically used the “bully platform” to make their agenda visible to the masses. But one has to wonder, how did Deegan let Dean Black steal that heresy from her?

Lead Photo: Rep. Dean Black questions a presenter at a committee meeting on January 26, 2023 | Florida House of Representatives

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