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Jacksonville’s Alvin Brown made history in 2011 by becoming the city’s first Black mayor. Mayor Brown won his election in a tight race during a time where Tea Party Republicans were surging, pulling off a major upset.

Brown, born December 15, 1961, grew up in Beaufort, S.C. He came to the “River City” to attend Jacksonville University and earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Business Administration.

Brown later attended Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and moved on to the first of several high profile business-related positions. In 1993, Brown served the Clinton-Gore administration as Vice President’s Gore’s senior adviser for Urban Policy and vice-chair of the White House Community Empowerment Board.

Brown also advised President Bill Clinton on domestic issues, job creation, business development and other matters. Before getting elected to the mayor’s office, Brown was an Executive-In-Residence at Jacksonville University’s Davis School of Business.

As one of the most respected business minds in Jacksonville, Brown amassed a series of awards for his time in public office and within the private sector. In 2011, incumbent Republican mayor John Peyton was banned from running for a third term and Brown entered a crowded primary election as an underdog candidate.

Running on a campaign promising jobs, development and executive leadership in the city, Brown came in second out of six potential candidates. In the mayoral election, he faced off against Republican Mike Hogan who had the rabid support of the Tea Party and other conservatives.

But in the runoff, Brown narrowly defeated his foe in what was deemed a shocking victory for the sagging Democratic Party. In fact, it had been two decades since a Democrat held the office.

Brown won the confidence of the electorate with a solid campaign and his extensive business background. Brown and his wife, Santhea, have two boys, Joshua and Jordan.

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