A familiar name is making his name more known around Tallahassee as he campaigns for a spot on the City Commission. Pastor and community leader Rudy Ferguson is challenging first-term Commissioner Jack Porter for Seat 1 on the City Commission.
A primary is scheduled for August with a general election set to take place in November 2024, if necessary.
Ferguson is a Tallahassee native who was raised in the Griffin Heights neighborhood, one of the city’s poorest areas with one of the highest crime rates.
He is the pastor at New Birth Tabernacle of Praise in Griffin Heights, and has a long history of community service. He also has an endorsement from Henry Lewis, a former dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at FAMU and the first African American elected to the Leon County Commission.
Ferguson’s dedication to the community is not foreign to Tallahassee. As a young adult he joined the Tallahassee Urban League’s youth mentor program and later became a peer counselor.
Later, he was appointed by former Governor Lawton Chiles to the Florida Board of Directors for the Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence. He now serves as the chairman of the frontline Pastors Action Council, a former chairman and member of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Faith Leaders Network. He’s also an active member of the Council on the Status of Men and Boys, the Community Leadership Council on Gun Violence, the Tallahassee Human Relations Council, and the Leon County Sheriff’s Citizens Advisory Council.
As a resident of Tallahassee since age 13, Ferguson recognizes the challenges the city faces and is determined to make a change. Three of his goals are to bring economic projects to the area that will bring good jobs and higher wages. He also would like to deal with affordable housing and create unity in City Hall.
A strong City Commission can make a difference, Ferguson said.
“The noise and distractions in City Hall are weighing heavy on what affects our community both indirectly and directly.” Ferguson said. “We have to work together and find that balance —because we are elected officials and people depend on us to hold ourselves to the highest integrity and hold ourselves accountable for the things that they’re depending on us to do for them.”
In a recent statement, Henry Lewis emphasized Ferguson’s dedication to the community.
“His commitment to the Tallahassee community, in particular the African-American community, is one of the reasons why I am supporting him. The work that he has done in working with young people in the Frenchtown area, which is critically needed as it is one of, if not the poorest area in the state of Florida. His commitment to try to correct that atrocity is why I’m working to support him,” Lewis said.
Ferguson’s campaign is gaining momentum because of his active engagement in addressing issues in the community like affordable housing, crime, small businesses and preserving the integrity of the city, Lewis added.
As Ferguson continues with his campaign, he will continue to engage with residents and work toward his goal of gaining a seat on the City Commission to be a representative for the voices around him. He said he wants to bring the city where it needs to be through unity, affordable housing, lower crime rates and decent wages.