Hayward files for Pensacola mayor (updated)

Just received a phone call from Ashton Hayward. He is heading to the Supervisor of Elections office to pre-file for Pensacola mayor.

Press release:
Pensacola voters now have a new choice in the race for the City’s first strong mayor, a young, energetic leader who is a successful businessman and political newcomer.

Local businessman Ashton Hayward announced his candidacy for Mayor of Pensacola today, vowing to provide new leadership and a new direction that voters have said they want in surveys, polls and past city elections.

“It’s time that we change the way we do business in Pensacola,” Hayward told a crowd of supporters after filing for the race. “When the biggest news stories are about businesses leaving our city for other communities, young people and creative talent moving away, and neighborhoods falling apart, it is obviously time for change. We can’t keep doing the same things over and over and expect a different outcome. The citizens of Pensacola deserve results.”

The 40-year-old Hayward joins a field that includes four other candidates – all political insiders – vying for the new Strong Mayor position created by voters in the new city charter passed in 2009. Hayward’s experience during his business career includes working with Fortune 500 companies and their decision-makers to manage emerging technologies. As a community developer, Ashton has managed projects worth over $100 million, resulting in new infrastructure and economic investment in our area.

As part of an inclusive campaign to reach out to all parts of the community, Hayward will be meeting in the next few weeks with citizens and community leaders from across the city to hear directly from voters about solutions they have for making Pensacola a better place to live, work and play.

“We need new ideas for City Hall and we need to reach out and include new people in the process,” he said. “It won’t be easy but I look forward to working with you to make our City better for all of us.”

His top priorities are restoring confidence in city government and building a stronger local economy. “The citizens of Pensacola demand and deserve an open, responsive and accountable city government,” he said. “It takes far too long to get results under our current bureaucracy. As mayor, I will seek to close the gap between City Hall and the voters. A hallmark of my administration will be to make Pensacola a city where companies want to do business.”

Hayward’s other priorities include investing in city beautification and neighborhood restoration, supporting minority businesses, partnering with universities to recruit young talent to our area, and working with other agencies and businesses to improve the education and training of our youth and workforce.

Ashton Hayward is a member of the City of Pensacola Planning and Architectural Review Boards. In addition, he serves on the WSRE Board of Directors, and was appointed to the Northwest Florida Transportation Corridor Authority. Hayward and his wife, An, have one son, Aiden.