Tommy Hazouri dies at 76


JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Jacksonville political giant Tommy Hazouri died on Saturday, the city said.

He was 76 years old.

“It is with deep sadness that the Hazouri family announce the passing of our devoted husband and loving father, Tommy Hazouri, on Saturday September 11, 2021,” the city wrote in a statement. “He spent his last days in peace surrounded by family and friends; and in typical Tommy’s fashion, he was sure to laugh, remember and hold his loved ones against them. “

He is survived by his wife Carol and his son Tommy Jr.

For nearly 50 years, Tommy Hazouri has been a household name in Jacksonville.

Winning his first election in 1974 – when Reubin Askew was governor of Florida – Hazouri served 12 years in the state House of Representatives. He served a term as mayor of Jacksonville, eight years on the Duval County School Board and was in his second term on Jacksonville City Council, having completed a year as president.

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Hazouri underwent surgery for a lung transplant at the Mayo Clinic in July 2020 – less than a month after being sworn in as chairman of city council. He returned to Mayo last month for what has been described as complications from the transplant.

At the end of last month, Hazouri was released from the Mayo Clinic to receive in-home hospice care, leaving the people of town hall to pray for the man who has worked with and among them for decades.

“Tommy is a dear friend. He’s a mentor. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, ”City Council President Sam Newby said upon learning that Hazouri was entering hospice care.

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Hazouri, of Lebanese descent, was born and raised in Jacksonville. the couple lived.

They attended the Mandarin Presbyterian Church. They had a son together, Tommy Jr.

A longtime Jacksonville resident has been elected 11 times and has served four different state and local offices for nearly five decades.

GALLERY: Tommy Hazouri through the years

Hazouri was elected to represent Jacksonville District 20 in the Florida House of Representatives in 1974. While in the Florida legislature, Hazouri chaired the House Committee on Education and was also a member of the House of Appropriations Subcommittee on Education Financing. He was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Florida Ethics Commission and led the Sheriff’s Task Force on Mental Health.

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Trying to keep up with iconic mayor Jake Godbold’s two terms, Hazouri defeated former state representative John Lewis in a bitter Democratic primary election, then easily defeated Republican Henry Cook to become the city’s third mayor. consolidated from Jacksonville in 1987.

From the Vault: Tommy Hazouri during time as Jacksonville mayor

During his four years in office, he led a campaign to rid Jacksonville’s roads and bridges of toll plazas and implemented various environmental regulations aimed at eliminating an odor problem in the city. Despite his popular achievements, he lost his reelection bid to former State Attorney Ed Austin.

Hazouri would run for mayor in Jacksonville twice more, but lost in the primary elections both times. In 2004, he was elected to the Duval County School Board and was re-elected in 2008. He served as vice-chair of the board in 2008 and chair in 2009.

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After six years as a private citizen and chairman of a private consulting firm, Hazouri and Associates, he ran for a personal seat on Jacksonville City Council in 2015 and was re-elected in 2019.

Jacksonville City Council Chairman Tommy Hazouri chairs a special meeting to review the details of the Jaguars Lot J. (WJXT)

Returning from surgery, Hazouri chaired the Council for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the JEA leadership debacle unwound and during the Jaguars’ push to develop Lot J.

“I’ve been covering Tommy Hazouri since 1975, when I was a rookie reporter in Jacksonville and was a rookie state lawmaker,” News4Jax presenter Tom Wills said. “If you’ve ever been to Mandarin Walmart when Tommy Hazouri was in the store, it was like being in a Walmart with Elvis. Everyone knows him and they want to talk with him and he is always ready to talk with them. He and his longtime teaching wife Carol are loved by so many here in Jacksonville.

Presenter Mary Baer added that she had often seen him “court” at Panera in Mandarin.

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Tom and Mary reflect on Tommy Hazouri
Tom and Mary reflect on Tommy Hazouri

Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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