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Political Rookie Eyes Pensacola City Hall

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Jonathan Green is the second-youngest in the six-member field for Pensacola Mayor, and one of two African-Americans seeking the post. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody recently spoke with Green about his candidacy.

Jonathan Green is wearing many hats at 31 years of age; educator, social worker, activist, and a law school graduate.

“I do have a law degree; I don’t have the license to actually practice law, but that was intentional as I went to law school,” says Green. “To learn the legal system so that way, I could see how to best help people and apply it on more of a practical level.”

A major reason he’s jumping into the race for City Hall, he says, is the desire to make a difference.

“Part of that is going after things that I prepared for, worked for,” Green says. “And part of that is just to bring everything that I’ve learned through my experiences and things that I’ve seen in the community. And being able to really build and being able to grow the community so that way we can work together.”

Among other issues, Green’s campaign is focusing on better public safety through community policing and setting up restorative justice programs.

“So that way, we could reduce recidivism rates by having victims of crime, as well as offenders of crime working more together,” said Green. “So that way, we can see what the root cause of those elements are so that way we can eradicate as much crime as possible.”

Another pet issue is education – specifically, having more resources available, which Green contends is another way to reduce recidivism rates to get people back to work and in turn becoming more self-sufficient through job training.

Green has participated in a number of protests, as an advocate of both human and civil rights. One high-profile issue is what to do with Pensacola’s Confederate monuments. Rather than taking them down, he wants to move them to a park of their own. 

“Where we relocate to one general area downtown that would make it more of an historical legacy for people that is part of their heritage,” Green says. “It would draw that tourism, but also be able to better utilize those properties in which those figures are situated.”

Go to Jonathan Green’s personal website and you’ll be greeted with an elegant opening page, proclaiming that he has the “Heart of a Revolutionary.”

“The difference between a revolutionary and a rebellion, is that a rebellion is a failed revolution; whereas a revolution is a successful rebellion,” said Green. “Everything we do in this day and age, in a sense, is revolutionary. To be 31 and in a position like I’m in, that in itself is revolutionary – to be able to stand and advocate for people.”

Green entered the mayoral race in May, kicking off his first political campaign. He was asked about the plusses and minuses of a neophyte stumping for office.

“The best thing: I wake up every morning and I tell myself even before I get to the mirror, ‘You can be mayor.’” “And I tell myself that ‘The work you can do today and the effort you put in, will determine the success and outcomes of you and tomorrow.’”

One of the hardest parts, says Green, is not getting discouraged.

“Part of that discouragement, so to speak, is you wonder if you’re doing the right thing since this is your first political campaign,’ Green says. “Knowing that you want to run it as grassroots-level as possible, and get people passionate about politics and being involved, knowing that they have a voice.”

With just a few weeks before the August 28 primary, Green’s campaign strategy in the six-player field will be what he’s been doing since getting into the race – reaching out and connecting with people.

“Inviting people out to the mayoral forums; knocking on doors, putting my shoes to the ground, said Jonathan Green. “You come across a lot of people that, hearing them talking, the love they have for their community, and seeing what the issues are, explaining your vision and just seeing the hope that fills in a person’s eye because it’s the same hope that I feel inside.”