John PeytonFormer Mayor, Jacksonville Florida
John Peyton was sworn in as Jacksonville's Mayor on July 1, 2003, only the second Republican in 100 years to be elected to that office. Mayor Peyton's accomplishments include successfully hosting the city's first-ever Super Bowl, cultivating multi-million-dollar economic development, streamlining government operations and launching a nationally-recognized early literacy program.
Mayor Peyton worked with business and community leaders to bring more jobs to Jacksonville. In October 2007, in conjunction with Jacksonville Port Authority officials, the mayor signed an agreement with Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd. of South Korea to develop a $360 million container terminal in Jacksonville. The operation is expected to generate at least $1 billion in local economic activity, as well as more employment opportunities.
Peyton also worked with more than 300 community partners to establish a blueprint for increasing per capita income in Jacksonville. That program is long-term, but it's developing in an environment with considerable momentum. Since Jacksonville hosted the Super Bowl in 2005, local business expansion and corporate relocations have yielded more than 7,100 new jobs and nearly $500 million in private capital investment. Another successful initiative is the Small and Emerging Business program, which Mayor Peyton created to help small and minority businesses compete successfully for city contracts.
The mayor's focus on the future is evidenced by his early literacy program, RALLY Jacksonville! This cutting-edge initiative, aimed at growing the workforce of tomorrow, has reached thousands of 4-year-olds and their families thus far, and has become a model for other cities to follow.
Mayor Peyton's work in this crucial area earned him the 2005 James Patterson Pageturner Award in recognition of his “notable contributions to promoting books and reading,” and led to Jacksonville's being named one of the nation's Best 100 Communities for Young People by America's Promise, the Alliance for Youth founded by Gen. Colin Powell. Most recently, President George W. Bush appointed Mayor Peyton to serve a six-year term on the board of trustees of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.
Prior to his election, Mayor Peyton, a Jacksonville native, served as vice president of Gate Petroleum Company, one of the largest privately held corporations in Florida. He has been actively involved in community service for many years, serving on the transition team of former Mayor John Delaney and on the boards of a number of civic and charitable organizations. He is a former chairman of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (where he played an integral part in the development and early implementation of The Better Jacksonville Plan), the Jacksonville Symphony Association and Greenscape of Jacksonville.
Mayor Peyton is an alumnus of Mercer University and the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program, as well as a graduate of both Leadership Jacksonville and Leadership Florida. He and his wife, Jacksonville physician Kathryn Pearson Peyton, are members of St. John's Episcopal Cathedral. They are the proud parents of two sons, John Connor Peyton and Kent Thomas Peyton.
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"There is no reason why the world's best infrastructure should lie beyond our borders. This is America. We've always had the best infrastructure. This is work that needs to be done."