Exploring the Importance of Libertarians in Local Politics with Eric Parker, a Libertarian Candidate Running for Jacksonville City Council
Attention all Jacksonville residents! Join us as our guest, Eric Parker, Libertarian running for a seat on the Jacksonville City Council, shares his journey of switching from a district race to an at-large seat and the challenges he faced as a third-party candidate in the process.
He also shares his plans to address the issues that affect the City of Jacksonville, such as the gas tax, which disproportionately affects the working poor, and housing prices, which have risen due to a shortage of rental properties caused by restrictive zoning laws. Eric explains how he plans to deregulate zoning laws and allow for more growth in housing to help solve these problems.
Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the potential for real change in Jacksonville and the importance of libertarians running for local office.
It's time to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about, and Eric Parker is the candidate to do just that. Tune in now and be a part of this enlightening conversation!
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Brian Nichols 0:00
Can this libertarian win the city council seat in Jacksonville, Florida? Yeah, let's talk about that. Instead of focusing on winning arguments, we're teaching the basic fundamentals of sales and marketing and how we can use them to win in the world of politics, teaching you how to meet people where they're at on the issues they care about. Welcome to The Brian Nichols Show. Wow, happy Tuesday there, folks, Brian Nichols here on The Brian Nichols Show. And thank you for joining us on of course, another fun filled episode. I am as always your humble host joining us live from our Stratus ip studios, here in lovely Eastern Indiana. Don't let cyber attacks or outdated Business Technology. Put your company at risk. Learn more at the Brian Nichols show.com forward slash Stratus ip. All right, let's talk about this libertarians are running for Yes, local office. Is it important? I don't know. What do you know, folks, you listened to the show here. Many a time we talk about the importance of running for local office. And yes, libertarian candidates, it's super important for us to not just run for local office but to build up a bench because folks are not going to consider us big L libertarians for higher office until they see we can actually hold our own in lower office and one candidate who is going to be running for Jacksonville city council, Eric Parker. He's joining us here on The Brian Nichols Show. Eric, welcome to the program.
Eric Parker 1:22
Thank you for having me. Absolutely. Thank
Brian Nichols 1:24
you for joining us. And I say this to all of our friends who are joining the show with the big L next to their name. Thank you for running Yes, as a big libertarian, and of course, running specifically in a local election, which leads to so much more value than folks realize. But before we get there, let's do his favor, Eric, go ahead, introduce yourself to The Brian Nichols Show audience and why the heck have you run for office down there in Jacksonville as a libertarian?
Eric Parker 1:51
Yeah, thank you for this opportunity. I'm Eric Parker. I'm running for Jacksonville City Council at large one. So for about a year and a half, I was campaigning for a district district to race. But the entire time I was watching this at large one seat with one roof Republican opponent sitting there, running on a post and I was watching it, I knew that if in order to do it, I would have had to fundraise and raise the money. I did everything I could and qualified for petitions for the district race, only needing about 500 Navy signatures. But once you got into an at large seat, and I can go over this a little more in detail, but you're representing all of Jacksonville. So that meant that I want to need to 6000 signatures or so. And as a third party without the resources in place and the the amount of volunteers donated to parties have that would have been a little difficult. But it was always in the back of my mind, hey, this at large see is still running unopposed. And I kind of waited up until the very last minute. And I went into the supervisor elections office with all the paperwork prepared to switch from District Two to at large one, everything went successful. That left about I did it at 4pm on a Thursday, and the establishment only had until 11:30am The next day to find someone and run I was expecting maybe like a Democrat to help steal some votes from me, but to put a third person in that race and they didn't get a chance to do it. So it's a head race with me versus one person and an election that has the potential to represent over a million people here in Jacksonville. About 650,000 registered voters.
Brian Nichols 3:38
Wow. Okay, that's pretty darn cool. So let's let's kick things off here about the issues that you're going to help address as you're running for city council there in Jacksonville, which to your point a million folks, that's pretty darn impressive. We can get you there into elected office. So let's talk about those issues that you're seeing right now top of mind in Jacksonville and obviously bringing a libertarian perspective to the table talk to us, what does that look like and what's been the feedback you've been hearing from voters as you're going out and bringing a libertarian message to them?
Eric Parker 4:11
So of course the number one one of the number one parts of my libertarian message is being fiscally conservative here in Jacksonville. So we have a Republican supermajority City Council Republican and we are a what they call a sinkhole city we have over a $3 billion debt so that is my number one concern. If we start defaulting on our debts our loans our authorities go unfunded the the things that people do depend on their government for which we would also like to pull some of that back to help pay off our debt that's gonna go on accomplish so number one is the debt that's always lingering in the back of my mind. And the reason why I decided to run was that that Republicans majority was also doing everything they could during 2020 To hurt small businesses here in Jacksonville. So to kind of tell you why I decided to run to elaborate a little more on that. I was working at a local craft brewery here in Jacksonville as a part time job. It was more of a hobby of mine, I was doing about 15 to 20 hours a week, depending. And I saw what they had to deal with, even here in the Free State of Florida during 2020, they still got shut down for about 90 days, a lot of people think that oh, Florida State home the entire or state open the entire time. That's not true. So that's a misnomer. But that brewery was forced to get a restaurant license, get a hot dog roller and become a restaurant to reopen. And then they were two weeks away from closing their doors because they were forced to go to like to go sales only for you know, three months, and they nearly went out of business. Well, they were able to stay open. And then our local Jacksonville City Council passes an ordinance finding small businesses $500 If they had 50 or more people on the property. So it was at that point that I started going to city council meetings. And sorry, that's my dog barking. I don't know if you can hear it or not. But my wife's coming home, the dogs gonna bark till she gets in. But uh, they were finding small businesses $500 that they had 50 or more people on the property. So the same meeting that I decided to go and speak up against that. And that very same meeting, they were voting on giving the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars $100 million to build an entertainment district in downtown Jacksonville. So on one hand, you're hurting, struggling small businesses that the government has already done enough to nearly put out of business. And on the other, you're bailing out corporate special interests. So that's what motivated me to start going to city council meetings every single week, and or every other week, every single meeting for six months straight. And at every single meeting, they were giving away hundreds of 1000s if not hundreds of millions are attending hundreds of millions of taxpayer funded subsidies to well connected cronies here in Jacksonville. So I did that for about six months, I felt like my concerns were going unheard. And I decided to file and run myself.
Brian Nichols 7:25
So let's kind of focus on the second part of my question there a little bit, which is the response you're getting right? Because a lot of folks, I think right now are in the mindset that they are open for a different way of doing things. But they don't know what direction to go. And for those folks that are looking for an alternative, they may look to a libertarian and raise a little eyebrow and say, I don't know, do I want to cast my vote for someone that I just I have a lot of uncertainty, right? I have a lot of question marks. So let's kind of start things off with the issues as you're presenting them to the voters. What's been the feedback? What are they saying when you're going out and talking about these issues? Are they open to hearing a libertarian perspective? Or do we see folks kind of isolated to that? Did you vote for Trump? Do you like Trump? Is it that kind of thing? Are you getting a different feedback when you're going out and actually speaking to folks?
Eric Parker 8:45
So I think there's two different camps here. I think they're the people that consider themselves politically involved. And I think they are receiving what worked were the message that we're delivering, because they were kind of paying attention, even though they may have been voting Republican or Democrat their entire lives, but they're hearing it from a different perspective, like, and we're not saying, hey, Republicans are the problem, or hey, Democrats are the problem. But we are saying, hey, here are the issues that we have in Jacksonville. And if you continue voting the same way, you're going to continue to get the same thing. So I do you think they're receptive. And then there's a lot of people that aren't politically involved. And what I mean by that is like, in your local elections, there's what people call super voters, they show up and vote in every election, even if like, I think, a year ago, we had a special election. And there were just two there was one race and two candidates on the ballot. That was the only thing on there. Someone passed away at city council. They were trying to fill the seat so they could sit in there for a year or so. And the people that showed up and voted on it. that those are the people that I'm trying to show up to with this message, like, hey, look, here's, here's what the Republicans and the Democrats are going to offer. And here's what libertarians are going to offer. And I do think that they see that we're paying attention to the issues, as far as you know, the debt and the spending, and the infrastructure and the resources that we have here in Jacksonville. And to be honest, they're probably a little shocked to hear that a third party candidate is so informed and paying attention with what is going on here look. So and I think that's good. I think that's how, like you said, we build the brand, like, hey, look, we're paying attention. And we see the same issues that people concern on both sides of the political spectrum, or I guess, corners of the political spectrum. They're seeing some of these same issues, we're just offering a different way to solve these issues.
Brian Nichols 10:51
Issues or issues, right, and problems are problems when people experienced the hardships they experienced the, in this case, a lot of the issues we're talking about are from government trying to do good, end up having untold content. This is the part that so frustrating, is usually or at least it used to be well intentioned people trying to do the right thing. And they think that government is the way to do that. Now, I think we've seen over the past few years that that narrative has changed a little bit. But there are folks who are still kind of just in this old mentality of well, this is how it's done. Right? Like, you vote for people, they fix the problems. But no, they don't end up fixing the problems, they end up making the problems worse. And you mentioned, I mean, goodness paying hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to help fund an NFL stadium, what isn't isn't isn't the stadium shouldn't be funded by the billionaire owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. That's the question that your average person is going to ask. And that's where I think we have a great opportunity. And I'd love to hear your thoughts here. I'm speaking to your average person, because so often you see the left and the right, they feel that they need to go hardcore after the politicos, right, versus going out and trying to get that average person who is aware of the problems that are taking place, getting them mobilized, like, even though they haven't gone to the voting booth, show them that there's a path forward. And it's not the same old, same old Red Team Blue team, but actually a different way of doing things.
Eric Parker 12:27
Exactly. And that's one, one of my goals for this entire campaign is not only to like, spread the libertarian message, but to get those regular non political types involved here locally, because that's the good thing about local politics is you could go down to city hall right now. And you could speak to all 19 city council members to their face, they're not going to respond, but they'll hear you. And if it's a an issue that concerns you, that is the best thing to do. First call their office, they're not probably not going to answer, shoot them an email, they're probably not going to respond. I've gotten some responses. And it's unique here. So we have 14 districts. And then we have five at large seats. So like I said, I was running in district two, which is the north east side of Jacksonville, what we call Ocean Way East Arlington. And then that at large seats, there's five of them, you have to live in different areas of Jacksonville for each seat, but you represent all of Jacksonville, I've actually got more responses from at large people, there's five, one of the five and a half, you know, like on certain topics than I have on my current district. It just depends on the issue. Some of them will say I agree. And that that matters. All of them have to, you know, share and read the messages sent to them. And then whenever you show up in person, and if you say something like, Hey, I emailed you can't use their name because I mailed Councilman or woman in district or at large seat number five, for example. And they never responded that makes it look bad. And they're they might call you into the greenroom that happened to me and they wanted to like make sure hey, look something happening. They probably made up an excuse the mute button, they are paying attention. And whenever it's a major issue and people show up in force, then you get their attention and my recommendation is everyone wear like the same colored shirt and show up and so another thing we have going here in Jacksonville is we have three libertarians running for city council. You have me running for at large one. You have Jerry Tubb, rural Baugh running for at large five, so two at largest. And then you have Ronald Tracy Robeson, and he's running for district eight. So, no matter where you live in Duval County, Jacksonville, you'll be able to vote for at least two libertarians. And if you live in district eight, you'll be able to vote for three. So and for all of us. This is the first time any of us have ran for office, we kinda showed up to a local affiliate meeting. And we all had concerns, this was around 2020 2021 timeframe had concerns with our local government, we all had different reasons for thinking we wanted to get involved politically, two out of the three, me included, were fairly new to the Libertarian Party, but so disappointed with the Republican Party that we knew our best way to make change is to do it outside of the Republican Party. So we all kind of just said, at the same time, I think we are, you know, I was thinking about running another two, and we're gonna say, Well, why don't all three of us run send a message to the establishment, you know, what I mean? Like, challenge them for real. So, and that's kind of what we're doing. And the good thing about the three of us is we all come from kind of different backgrounds, we've been hitting different areas of Jacksonville, we're hoping to get a certain level of down ticket voting, because some people will see multiple, you know, LPF candidates on the ballot, depending on where they are. And if I'm gaining support up here on the north side, and tubs kinda closer to downtown, and Tracy's northwest side, then each of us can benefit from each other support. So that's kind of our strategy here. Um, the good thing is we're able to get out and talk to people about what they're concerned with. And then 2020, and you know, this through 2023, and we're still dealing with the record high inflation. That's I think the number one concern with people is how am I going to afford to put food on the table for my family to pay my rent, to afford to put gas in my gas tank? And that for us, libertarians, is honestly kind of an easy topic for us to explain why it happened. But it's difficult for people to hear what the solutions are going to be. Because we're like, look, it's the out of control, government spending has gone on for far too long. And we have to start cutting it if we want to see them in place you go down, and a lot of people that we're used to seeing the same old spending, that it's kind of like yanking the band aid off. They don't they're I don't know that they're ready to hear it. But they're receptive to us, at least, you know, telling them what happened.
Brian Nichols 17:19
Yeah, I mean, so I'm glad you mentioned about the issues that people care about, because as our tagline here on the show talks about meet people, where they're at, on the issues they care about, right, so when we're talking about these issues, and I'm glad you brought up inflation. So I think we're seeing this across the board. It is difficult, because libertarians rightfully have been so often able to diagnose here's the problem. But to your point, our solutions are either very long term, or it's gonna suck. Like if we're gonna have to, to your point, rip the band aid off in the short term. So I guess my question to you is, how do you make that palatable to the voter because the voter, they're tuned into what radio station wi I fm? What's in it for me? So how are you finding success in saying, hey, here is maybe an unfortunate solution, because it is the solution we need to look at as a viable solution. But it might cause some short term pain, including some short term pain for you, Mr. Voter or miss voter. So
Eric Parker 18:21
locally here, one thing that we've mentioned to them, and it was also a good area for libertarians to get a win, if you will, was during this back in 2021. They pass an ordinance doubling our gas tax now, it only went from six cents to 12 cents. But we were also able to argue like, look, this is a regressive tax on the working poor of Jacksonville. So it kind of got us a little bit of that, you know, showing how we are empathetic to people's concerns. And a solution would have been just don't double that gas tax. But they didn't listen, they still doubled it. And then a few months later, some people who have now decided to run for mayor tried using it as a way as a political tool to say, oh, I want to repeal that gas tax, the one I voted to double. But now it's a bad idea. Because we had a record high gas prices in Jacksonville. And it was very easy for us like hey, we would have never raised your taxes. We would have never wasted 40% of that for a bike trail that only helps out for the 14 districts in Jacksonville. But these establishment political types they did raise it on. Same thing. Another area where we could kind of explain is like a lot of people talk about rent control. And we explain I look we have right now in Jacksonville record high rent and or house prices, because people decided to move here in between 2020 and 2023. And I've heard numbers between 2000 to 4000 new people moving to Jacksonville every other week. So that is why the cost of rent is going up, and why the cost of purchasing a home are going up so fast. Now they've started to level out and they're gradually coming down now, but we're able to explain to them, Hey, look, you remember, those prices went up because there was a shortage. If you kept rent prices, there's going to be another shortage, because there's not going to be an incentive for contractors and builders and realtors and investors to invest in more rental property here in Jacksonville, it will decent revise it, and it will mess up the supply demand chart and the prices are going to stay high and continue to go up. So what we had been advocating for is deregulating some of the restrictive zoning laws here. And then because we've been constantly talking about it, even in our city council, I think they're stealing some of our messaging because they know we're on the hunt, one guy brought a bill that would let people build like a mother in law suite on the back of their property before, if you were zoned a certain way, you could only have one home per acre or however size it was. It depends on where you live. And once you actually zone that, well, they pass a law where hey, look, we'll allow you to build that second home on the backside of the property. I think you could even rent it out if you wanted to. So it's like people are getting a little less restrictive. And the way the zoning works, because the situation we're in is allowing that type of growth.
Brian Nichols 21:30
Well, there you go. That's it's exciting to see because folks are now starting to see things and once they see it, they can't unsee it. So with that we want to make sure that folks, obviously continue this conversation. And unfortunately here we are already hard pressed for time. So to continue that conversation where can folks go ahead and find you support your campaign and also to my go ahead and end up financially support your campaign worth they go ahead and do that as well.
Eric Parker 21:53
So for financial support, head over to Eric Parker for jax.com. That's spelled out fo r Eric Parker for jax.com taught right in the page would be the Donate tab, it'll take you to the donor box, you can give up to $1,000 per election cycle, because this is going to be a immediate runoff there will not be a general election. So it'll only be this one time you can get up to the maximum amount of $1,000. If you want to follow along, you can go to Facebook. It's Eric P for Jax. So facebook.com backslash Eric P projects. You can search on Facebook, Eric Parker for Jacksonville City Council at large one you can follow on Twitter. Eric p 904. So at Eric p 904. On Twitter. And there's an Instagram out there too. I'm not sure the best way to find it. But it's Eric P for Jacksonville City Council. I'm pretty sure I've changed it from District Two to LR two and I'm not sure. But you were able to find it. Um, yeah. And like I said, Eric P for jax.com. Or excuse me, Eric Parker for jacks.com is the website and the Donate tab. My next goal is to raise the money for mailers. I'm trying to hit all the super voters in Duval County. I've said it's a million people 650,000 voters I probably need. I'm guessing 50,000 votes to win. So I need to purchase Mellors for 50,000 votes, probably that's what I'm looking at. So I'm gonna really use the support.
Brian Nichols 23:25
There you go. There's the mission, folks, should you choose to accept it. So all right, well, with that also, we'll make it easy for you folks to find those links. We'll include them all in the show notes. All you got to do is if you're joining us on the podcast version of the show, which I know like 99% of you are click the artwork in your podcast catcher it'll bring you over to today's episode where yes, you can find those mentioned Afra mentioned links but also, you can find the entire transcript of today's episode plus the video version of the program available over on YouTube on Odyssey and over on rumble wherever you find us do me a favor just hit the notification bell so you don't miss a single time we go live and of course if you haven't yet, hit that subscribe button as well. And oh by the way, did you check out our awesome shop here at The Brian Nichols Show we have some awesome swag in store for you like our good ideas don't require for us to snap back we have our magic money tree unicorn shirt which of course represents the Fed we have that plus so many more goodies from our backpacks, our yard signs, T shirts, bumper stickers, all that and more. You can find that over at our shop the Brian Nichols show.com forward slash shop and use code TBNS at checkout for 10% off otherwise find me on social media Twitter Facebook at beat nickels liberty and by the way, we had some really awesome episodes here over the past few weeks I wouldn't include them. If you're joining us here on the YouTube version of the show right here and right here it's gonna be our most recent episode and also whatever the algorithm Gods over at YouTube determined to be a good fit for you. But with that being said all we have for you Brian Nichols signing off. You're on The Brian Nichols Show for Eric Parker. We'll see you tomorrow.
Eric Parker 25:06
Thanks for listening to The Brian Nichols Show. Find more episodes at the Brian Nichols show.com
Brian Nichols 25:12
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Eric Parker is a candidate for Jacksonville City Council At Large 1. Eric is a Veteran and a North Florida native. Eric is concerned about his local government and their out of control debt and spending as well as everything they've done to hurt small businesses in Jacksonville.