City of Tallahassee swears in new commissioner Jack Porter

The City of Tallahassee swore in a new commissioner at its reorganization meeting Monday afternoon; Jack Porter replaced Dr. Elaine Bryant.
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 9:47 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The City of Tallahassee swore in a new commissioner at its reorganization meeting Monday afternoon; Jack Porter replaced Dr. Elaine Bryant.

Commissioner Curtis Richardson was also sworn in after winning his reelection campaign, and Commissioner Jeremy Matlow was unanimously chosen as the new Mayor Pro Tem.

As Dr. Bryant leaves the City Commission after almost two years, Jack Porter is the youngest woman ever elected to the position.

Commissioner Porter says first and foremost, she wants to focus on COVID-19.

“One, related to COVID, that we’re capturing public comment in a way that’s accessible to everyone, not just City Commission meetings, but other lower-level meetings as well, the Planning Commission,” said Commissioner Porter.

Porter says she’s feeling nervous, humbled, and excited; she has many items on her list.

“I’m also really interested in making sure that every neighborhood has a park within a 10-minute walk, that kind of thing. Making sure that our transit systems are working, making sure-- I really want to revisit municipal broadband, so that we can close the digital divide, especially given our dependence on COVID and the internet now,” she said.

She says she’s already heard from members of the public.

“Very valid concerns about public safety, about police accountability, about affordable housing, especially with COVID, we’re seeing homelessness and eviction rates,” said Porter.

Outgoing Commissioner Elaine Bryant began her public remarks by thanking City staff.

“This organization cannot run unless those people who come to work every day give their very best, and that’s what they’ve done,” she said.

Dr. Bryant lost to Porter in the primary; she says she intends to stay involved in the community. She says her favorite part of being on the Commission was influencing public policy.

She was appointed to replace Scott Maddox on New Year’s Eve 2018 after he was federally indicted; she says she’s most proud of her work on the City’s Strategic Plan.

“It’s evidenced because every time an issue comes to the City, it’s attached to an objective in our strategic plan. For me, that’s extremely exciting because I know how important it is to getting to end results,” said Bryant.

Bryant says she believes the Commission was able to cover a lot of ground in two years and gave advice to her successor.

“First of all listen, learn, and then act,” she said. “I have done what I was really called here to do; most people know I’m very spiritual, so if that’s what the Lord wanted me to do, I’ve done it, and hopefully, I’ve done it well.”

City and County Commissioners met last week to pass Welaunee amendments; Commissioner Matlow was the single dissenting vote on the City side, saying he wanted the new Commissioners to be part of the vote.

Porter was vocal during her campaign about her opposition to the Welaunee amendments; she says she also wishes she was able to vote on that issue.

“I think the voters voiced their will, not only with my election, but the election of Brian Welch at the County; so, I think that was a missed opportunity, but I look forward to revisiting our processes and our planning steps,” said Porter.

Leon County swears in two new Commissioners on Tuesday at 3 p.m.

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