City Commissioner Jack Porter Hires Progressive Organizer, Promises Non-Partisan Governance

City Commissioner Jack Porter Hires Progressive Organizer, Promises Non-Partisan Governance

City Commissioner Jack Porter said that her office will continue to strive for nonpartisan governance though her recently hired aide, Kristellys Estanga, has ties with several progressive politicians, including Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Gillum.

Estanga told TR that she is committed to transitioning from partisan to nonpartisan governance.

Estanga was born in Venezuela and grew up in South Florida, according to Florida Politics. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and her master’s degree in urban studies and community development from Eastern University.

Estanga has had a long career working with political campaigns. In the past, she worked for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign as Director of Community Organizing and Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign as a regional organizing director. In Jacksonville, she was also a campaign coordinator for Bernie Sanders.

Notably, Estanga was formerly the aide for Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, succeeding Ida Eskamani, the twin sister of Rep. Anna Eskamani. Both Rep. Smith and Rep. Eskamani have become known for their progressive agendas and have been referred to as Central Florida’s “progressive power couple“. Rep. Eskamani also endorsed Porter’s campaign for City Commissioner.

Additionally, Estanga has served as president of the Jacksonville Young Democrats and served on the Florida Young Democrats executive board. Previously, she also worked in various community engagement and coordination roles for the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, the Jacksonville Criminal Justice Behavioral Health Collaborative, LSF Health Systems and more. She also co-founded Brown Girls Can, a political organization that aims to promote proportionate representation in political campaigns.

As Porter’s aide, Estanga will be responsible for administrative work including conducting research and briefing Porter on agenda issues, managing Porter’s schedule and communicating directly with Porter’s constituents. She will also be responsible for handling citizen complaints and coordinating with City departments.

Porter’s campaign, which drew support across party lines, was centered around fighting the status quo and special interests. Porter said she was looking for an aide “that was not tied in with business as usual in local government.” She also looked for a candidate with previous experience in public office administration, and though Estanga’s previous role was different, her administrative experience is useful.

Estanga said so far, one of the biggest challenges facing Porter’s office is “the massive array of power and resources that the insider status quo has at their disposal.” She said another challenge as Porter’s aide is transitioning from her experience with the partisan governance of the Legislature into nonpartisan municipal governance.

“I am committed to it however, and there is nothing more important to me than working across all ideological divides to do the right thing for our constituents,” she said.

Both Porter and Estanga said that political leanings will not be a factor in Porter’s office and that they are committed to working with people of all ideological backgrounds.

Porter said, “Ultimately, the elected official is the one who decides the tone of the office and I will not tolerate any political bias in the administration of my Commission duties. Anyone who knows me understands that working with everyone of good faith regardless of ideology is my highest priority. That’s how I ran my campaign and that’s how I’m running my office.”

“A fresh outside perspective against business as usual was the major theme of the campaign and continues to be in the office,” Estanga said.

22 Responses to "City Commissioner Jack Porter Hires Progressive Organizer, Promises Non-Partisan Governance"

  1. Not sure why TR should be criticized. The entire article is factual and gives ample time to Porter and Estangas views. Exactly what news should be.

  2. Certainly an odd choice for an aide by a new elected official who proclaims she will not tolerate political bias in her office. Is she blind to the fact that her new aide is the epitome of political bias to the left? I think maybe, what she means is she will listen to everyone…..then vote “progressively”.
    What is most galling is that she thinks she can convince us of anything. But a few of us have seen it all before.
    The Commissioner is politically ambitious. That’s why she hired a politically experienced aide with wide national party connections. If she was really interested in just local matters, she would have hired an aide with local ties and experience.
    Did somebody say “bait and switch”? I truly hope she proves me wrong

  3. Respectfully, Eddie… a few short weeks of mostly orientation meetings are hardly indicative of a governance path or even “doing a pretty fine job in general”. Time, action and votes will certainly tell as she moves forward and engages in substantive duties.

    As I recall, Matlow came out guns-a-blazin… but it didn’t take long for the local “power brokers” to slap him down and into place. We’ll see if Porter has the stones to and intestinal fortitude to withstand the pressure.

    And for the record… I’m not looking for “influence”… I’m seeking courage, leadership, integrity, and commitment to ones’ convictions. We’ll see how this plays out.

    Keep up the good work, Steve and TR… transparency in government is paramount.

  4. Boy, Blueprint and the local gov cabal are certainly getting their money’s worth paying Steve and 93.3 with taxpayer dollars.

    The truth about Jack Porter is: all the rich folks who pull the strings are shitting their pants she won. She is outside the clique of usual suspects, they know their time is up and they are freaking out. I love it. She’s actually doing a pretty fine job in general.

    Political appointees in Tallahassee are always going work places I don’t like, but enjoying watching the country club boys and girls who think they run the wolf squirming over this newcomer who beat the brakes off them is well worth my vote for Jack. There’s a potential power in a left-right coalition in a town like this and she seems open-minded, smart and most of all – not on the $$ take.

    What did we want, a middle of the road Democrat off the assembly line? A candidate like that would have lost and we’d have someone much worse in there. Our path to influence runs through people like her, Proctor, Matlow, maybe Cummings etc.

    Hell, Desloge was a registered Republican and he was one of the worst goons for the gov establishment there was. We helped beat him and elect Porter. Let’s stay the course.

    Commissioner Porter, let this be a lesson. Don’t take Republicans for granted and show us you’re listening. Continue to fight the status quo and the crooks, and you’ll be just fine by this conservative.

  5. All you needed was to pull up her campaign contributors. Tallahassee has always been liberal, but she will bring a whole new leftist ideology.

  6. As someone who supported Porter, and a registered NPA… I must say that this is quite concerning to me. Who one surrounds themselves with, and seeks guidance from, is indeed indicative of ones’ leanings and intent. It’s very difficult to envision how Estanga can spend her entire career engulfed in “progressivism”, ideological partisanship, and folks shall we say with “questionable ethics”… and profess her intent to “advise” and “guide” Porter in a non-biased fashion. As the old saying goes, “a leopard never changes its spots”. I’ll be watching very closely, and hoping not to have to sit down for a nice plate of crow.

    By the way Commissioner Porter and Aide Estanga… there is such a thing as a “non-partisan” public office holder… but there is no such thing as a “non-partisan” elected public office. That’s just a semantic cover for surreptitious intent and dark money influence.

  7. As a close friend of the supposed “close associate of Gillum”… she’s as close to him as she is to Senator Warren or any of the other campaigns she worked on: not close at all lol working in campaigns does not mean you’re a close associate. Everyone: chill.

  8. It is very important for the local leftist voting Sheeple Majority in Tallahassee and surrounding Leon County to know their new darling Jack is very comfortable in bringing an Andrew Gillum close associate into Jacks inner circle for advice and possable manipulation of Jack’s votes, possable manipulation of Jack’s associates, and God knows what else someone so close to Jack may end up manipulating.

    Its important to know for the tiny impotent Republicans, the tiny impotent but oh so proud NPA’s, Libertarians and the non voting dont give a crap citizens too.

    Great reporting Steve! Keep up the great and informative work Sir.

  9. Looking forward to the next riveting article about the staff hired by another local politician, and then the next ad-nauseum, so we have equal coverage for all and more useless banter from political analyst wantabes.


  10. Why is anyone surprised by this. Could see this one coming way before the elections. Said it then and will say it again…Tallahassee has its very own AOC.

  11. This is pretty inline with the direction tlh is headed. Which is to say, even more liberal. Higher taxes, more govt, more downtown, more crime, homelessness, corruption, wealth redistribution. Nice sidewalks though!

  12. Meanwhile, Mayor Dailey wants to raise your taxes for his wife’s pet project, take your guns away, eliminate the ethics board and sell you a Nissan.

  13. Special interests are getting away with murder in local government and you’re focusing on an aide? Where is the coverage on these filthy land and road deals?

    The Chamber/VancoreJones/developer complex is the threat here. Porter has been a breath of fresh air and a check against the insiders. An honest progressive in a Democratic city will serve conservatives FAR better than some of the more supposedly “moderate” commissioners who simply rubber stamp the inside deals brokered by special interests and staff.

    I’m going to give Jack a chance. She has been accessible, transparent, and far better than the alternatives.

  14. This is looking like a “bait and switch” to me. Who Jack surrounds herself with says volumes of her political “intent”…much more than her non political bias rhetoric throughout her campaign and continuing here. Keeping the progressive left wing objectives out of local decisions will be imposible to do when your aides, and the progressive machine are constantly demanding otherwise, and if you dont play along, your promising political career will be over. The NON PARTISAN TALK WAS THE BAIT…Now ITS TIME FOR THE SWITCH.
    Face up to it folks…we were had…Porter has the same objectives as Andrew Gillum.

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