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Columbia County Observer

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Lake City News

James D. Carter, Jr. Takes City Council Seat: The Only One in the District Who Wanted To Serve

James Carter takes the oath of office for LC City Council

LAKE CITY, FL – Monday night in City Hall, James Carter took the Oath of Office and became the City Councilman for District 13 until the upcoming fall election cycle. It is unclear how City Council meetings' deterioration and armed camp setting affected other potential candidates. Mr. Carter had some ideas.

Lake City voting districts
Lake City voting districts

The District 13 seat became vacant when, on December 27, 2023, Councilman Todd Sampson resigned as a result of the new financial reporting requirements.

The City Council originally entertained "Letters of Intent to Serve" through January 2024. But, when only one candidate provided the letter, the deadline was extended for another month.

Mr. Carter provided his letter on January 16. His submission gave his employment history, his thoughts on local matters, and his community involvement.

The Observer inqired directly of Mr. Carter.

Mr. Carter graduated from Columbia High in 2007 and is 34 years old. After high school, he was looking to become an electrician, and when the market crashed, he went to work at the Advertiser for eight years. Then, he went across town to Vann Carpet and has been there for the past six years.

Regarding his post-secondary education, Mr. Carter said he did take “some” courses at FGC.

Mr. Carter explained why he wanted to be a Councilman: “I love my town and want to see it thrive. I love the concept of an involved community; many people taking part in the process, because they care about their family, their businesses, and their neighbors. I believe I can help influence a better kind of discourse.”

“I think people have been allowed to run roughshod over the Council for many years, and it’s reaching a fever pitch. It is practically impossible to run a productive meeting the way things have been going.”

Mr. Carter continued, “I think the people have a right to be upset. The Council has been often inconsistent in its enforcement of the rules of conduct and it feels like they are not even sure what they are voting and ruling on at many of these meetings. This is disappointing and should inspire discontent within any community.”

Your reporter asked Mr. Carter why he thought no one else applied to fill the vacant Council seat.

Mr. Carter: “I don't know for certain why others did not show interest, but the problems for many would be a serious deterrent. I can see how it might not seem like something that can be fixed. When I see a challenge, it excites me, and I get fired up to test myself. I believe the obstacle is the way. I can't think of a more honorable pursuit than to try and help lead my town out of a quagmire and on to a brighter future.”

Monday night, no one explained who was holding the Bible as City Clerk Audrey Sikes swore him in.

Jenna and James Carter waiing to take the oath.
Mr. Carter waiting to take the oath as wife Jenna looks on with the family Bible in her lap. In the background, his boss (seated), Mark Vann of the Vann Clan.

Mr. Carter explained, “My wife, Jenna Marie Carter, is the excellent woman holding the Bible. She is a registered nurse who works in hospice care. She is brilliant, conscientious, and endlessly compassionate. She is my teammate, partner, and lifelong reading buddy. I wouldn't be able to be as effective a person without her. Jenna keeps me focused and inspires me every day to be a better person.”

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