Taylor announces run for county commission in 2016
Justin Taylor, who currently serves as the public information officer for the Nassau County Property Appraiser, has filed to run for the District 5 County Commission seat in the 2016 elections.
“After careful consideration and dis- cussions with my family, friends, col- leagues and residents, I felt this was the right time to bring fresh new leadership to our county,” Taylor said. “I live in this community; I have a son in this community and my focus right now is the Nassau County community where I’m raising my family. I want to make the future here is bright.”
As a commissioner, Taylor said he would work toward creating an open line of communication between county government and taxpayers. “It goes back to being responsive to their desires and interactive with them,” he said. “You have to think about it from the taxpayer’s point of view, and they want to know that, if they have an issue — whether it is an issue with road widening, a drainage problem or peacocks — they want to know that their commissioners are listening to them and understanding their needs.”
Fostering that avenue of communication with the county’s citizens will be an important part of addressing the county’s opportunities and challenges, such as growth and economic development.
“As Nassau County continues to grow, we need to sustain that growth in such a way that we make it easier to attract new businesses that are beneficial to our citizens," Taylor said. "With the Port of Fernandina, Interstate 95, a major rail line and just minutes from an international airport, Nassau County is a prime location for industry. We need to help facilitate job growth in Nassau so residents do not have to leave the county to find employment."
While growth is vital for the community, it is not a blanket solution, he said.
“When you look at economic development, we need to look at Nassau County as a whole, but we also have little pocket communities. The desires and needs of Fernandina may not be the same thing that Yulee or Callahan or Bryceville wants,” he said. “Looking at Fernandina, they may not want a lot of economic development coming into their town, whereas in Yulee there are a lot of good commercial businesses coming here.”
That diversity in community attitudes and attributes adds to the need for improved communication between citizens and the county’s leadership, he said.
“Economic development is very important in the fact that we have 60 percent of the residents leaving the county for their employment. In addition to that, economic development will increase the tax base, so it is something we can look at to raise our level of serviced without raising taxes,” he said. “What we have to do is work with the public and really be responsive to their ideas as well as being transparent and holding ourselves accountable for the decisions we make.”
Taylor has a background in sales and marketing and studied business at Florida State College of Jacksonville prior to receiving his real estate license from the Florida Real Estate Institute. He also owned and operated an event rental and multi-media development company.
In 2007, Taylor began working to improve Florida's foster care system by creating a group to empower former foster youth. Having been raised in the foster care system, Taylor worked to encourage foster youth and to advocate for positive changes in the foster care system. The group now has more than 250 members statewide who make frequent trips to Tallahassee where they meet with legislators to discuss issues facing the foster care system.
It was that interaction with legislators in Tallahassee that first sparked Taylor’s interest in running for an elected office.
“Being in Tallahassee, I saw a completely different side of the way things operate. When I would go and talk to the legislature and advocate one the issues, the people listening were the decision makers — they were the ones who were pushing policy through and I really started to get the itch for it,” he said. “I would come back here on a local level and look at what’s going on and I think that’s when I really made the decision that I want to be on that side, I want to be someone that really can do some good for the community.”
Taylor also plays an active role in community organizations. He is a Family Support Services board member, Florida's Children First board member, a member of the Leadership Nassau steering committee, a member of Amelia Masonic Lodge and vice-chair of the Nassau County Republican Party.
“My candidacy is a result of my desire to work with the residents of Nassau County, ensuring that we are well positioned for success in the future,” said Taylor.
Justin is married to Shannon (Conn) Taylor, a third-year doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University. Together they have a 5-year-old son named Brayden.