D.C. Reeves to become Pensacola's new mayor
Journalist, entrepreneur, economic developer. Now, D.C. Reeves is preparing to add another title to his resume — Mayor of Pensacola.
“I just want to say thank you to the citizens of Pensacola and as you can imagine, it’s a flattering, overwhelming experience to win,” said the mayor-elect.
The 38-year-old Reeves, who moved back to his native Pensacola seven years ago, avoided a November 8 runoff by getting 51% of the vote to outdistance three other candidates. Avoiding a mayoral runoff is also a first under the 2009 city charter.
“We kind of looked at each other [Tuesday] afternoon, after waving all morning at every precinct, and 11 months of hard work and put in the best effort and we’ll see what happens,” Reeves said. “As you can imagine, how it played out with the results coming in and being so close to that 50-51 [percent], every time there was a new update, it was pretty suspenseful.”
Next up, the transition from the Grover Robinson administration to that of D.C. Reeves over the next couple of months, before Reeves officially takes office. That involves putting together a transition team.
“I have spoken with Mayor Robinson, and he has been very gracious and amicable with allowing me to be integrated into things that are happening, and that’s not something that he has to do,” Reeves said. “As involved as I can be without a distraction. We’re going to move pretty swiftly as far as the transition team goes.”
Once he takes office, Reeves says his “to-do” list is rather lengthy. It’s divided into short-and long-term goals. The former includes starting the city’s first grants office.
“We’re going to hire a grant writer that wakes up every morning looking about how we can get some of this unprecedented infrastructure money into our city, that’s coming down federally,” he said. “That’s something I don’t want to wait a year on. I want to get that person in position as this money starts to come down the line.”
Among the long-term projects, are improving public safety and addressing affordable housing. On the latter, the mayor-elect urges patience.
“Those solutions aren’t going to be in a month, or in two months," he said. "We know that those are long-range things. That doesn’t mean we’re going to wait on taking action. It just means what are these things that I kind of want to start moving on, and trying to get some progress on things like that. Like land development code and economic development.”
Among the first decisions to be made will be what to do with policies and projects implemented and overseen by the Robinson administration. Reeves, who worked on the current mayor’s transition four yeas ago, says the ball is already rolling on that.
“I’ve met with every city department, every city council person. I’ve met with every city administration at least twice, said Reeves. “And now that I’m mayor-elect, the nice part is that’s still very valuable. It comes in a much better position to be able to start asking even deeper questions during the transition process – because I got that good foundational understanding of how the city operates.”
And if you enjoyed Grover Robinson’s “Mondays with the Mayor” news conferences — fear not. D.C. Reeves says he plans to continue the relatively new tradition, but with some possible changes and tweaks.
“Now, we may move the time or maybe it’s ‘Tuesdays With the Mayor’ instead of Mondays — I’m going to look at that,” he said. “Maybe a little change here and here, [but] it may not change. But at the end of the day we want to be an accessible administration, and we want to be an accountable one.”