Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe announced on Tuesday a switch in his political party, becoming the first sitting mayor to join the Forward Party.
Marlowe has served as mayor for the past 12 years and is registered in the Libertarian Party. In an interview, he said most Americans feel like neither major party, Republican or Democrat, fits them, but in order to have real participation, Marlowe said you need to register with one of the two.
“I believe that the country is ready for a third party that makes sense, that wants to be positive, that wants to build bridges and partnerships,” Marlowe said. “We just all have to take that leap of faith and register and show with our numbers that we are ready for this third party.”
Marlowe earned another term as mayor in April after no one filed to run against him or the two commission seats up for election.
Marlowe said he’s grown discontent with a Libertarian Party that seems content to argue and point out hypocrisy. But he said the focus needs to be on the agreements between citizens and parties.
He said the tenets of the Forward Party resonated with him and the party will help heal national divisions that have festered for decades, looking to impact citizens’ backyards without aiming for the limelight of a presidential or gubernatorial campaign.
Florida officially licensed the Forward Party in April, and the party has already received official status in five other states—California, Texas, Maine, Nevada and North Carolina.
For 12 years, Marlowe said he’s governed through partnerships and focusing on areas of agreement. As examples of those agreements, he points to bringing an ambulance to Newberry, changing the gas tax structure and bringing a fairground for 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
A project to move sidewalks needed partnerships with the sheriff’s office, the Florida Department of Transportation and the school board. Other partnerships sit on the horizon like a regional wastewater treatment facility with Archer and High Springs along with a county meat processing center.
“For me, I feel like now I have a party that supports me wanting to do that instead of a party that wants me to stand against everything and get nothing done,” Marlowe said. “I have a party now that is judging my leadership based on the ability to get things done and to compromise and work with other people.”
Marlowe said he’s followed the Forward Party from the edges for a while and, when the party reached out, it seemed like a natural fit.
The Forward Party opposes partisan extremes and the division of America’s current two-party system, according to a press release. The party welcomes “Forward Democrats” and “Forward Republicans” to join its ranks, and its premise reiterates a desire for solutions the majority of Americans can support.
Forward’s Joel Searby, national director of communities and building, said the party focuses on the 500,000 public offices outside of Washington D.C.
“The Forward Party is focused on finding and elevating the dedicated servant leaders who will work to bring people together to solve problems that impact our local communities,” Searby said in a press release. “Mayor Marlowe embodies that vision and strategy.”