JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Have you ever heard of Patton Boggs?
The lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. calls the city of Jacksonville one of its clients, and so far this year, the city has paid $120,000 for Patton Boggs to lobby for everything from security funding to housing initiatives even the high speed rail.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said a lobbyist is a priceless investment in moving Jacksonville forward.
"I believe we have to have the best in Washington. It's very competitive. We are working a lot of critical issues, and I think it's very important for our city," said Brown.
Michael Binder, an assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida, said Jacksonville is one of about 1,500 cities lobbying at the federal level.
"Cities lobby on any number of issues," he said. "If you get one federal contract, it pays for itself 10 times over."
Brown said Jacksonville already has seen a return on its lobbying investment, receiving stimulus money for housing which helped out in the foreclosure crisis.
"Now, we are focusing on economic development for downtown. We are focusing on the port. We are focusing on making sure we get our fair share of tax dollars on all the things that are important for our city and particularly the port," said Brown. "We have a Tiger grant that's coming. We are going to be very competitive on a lot of fronts."
Jacksonville is also just one of nine cities or counties lobbying the super committee in Washington focused on deficit reduction.
"It's kind of our omnibus type of program; there's not a specific earmark necessarily for that money," said Binder.
The city is asking for money to boost the city's economy.
"I want them to send $2 billion to Jacksonville so we can put people back to work, dredge our port, focus on access to capital and credit, focus on literally downtown," said Brown. "We know what to do with the money; all they have to do is send it here," said Brown.
First Coast News