When election day rolls around in Duval County, some 485,000 voters will have
an opportunity to cast a ballot because of the efforts of Jerry Holland and his
staff. Holland, the Duval County supervisor of elections, is responsible for
making sure voting machines are working properly in 285 locations and 3,000
temporary workers are properly trained.
Two degrees from UNF have played a major role in preparing him for this
challenging job. He has a bachelor's of business administration in
transportation and logistics and a master's degree in education.
Holland said the bachelor's degree, especially the training in logistics, has
been invaluable in planning the massive election undertaking. "There are a lot
of eyes watching you and if you make a mistake, you can bet it won't be in the
back of the paper."
The master's degree prepared Holland for a part of his job that is frequently
overlooked by the public - educating young people in the importance of
registering and voting. Every year Holland and his staff make a concerted effort
to conduct registration drives in high schools and on college campuses. In his
first year in office they registered 3,600 young voters. The numbers have
consistently increased every year and the effort is now adding nearly 8,000
young voters to the rolls each year.
Holland was elected to the supervisor of elections post in 2005 and
re-elected in 2007. However, Holland said his prior public service gave him an
opportunity to see the necessity of creating a great public university as part
of creating a great metropolitan area. Holland served on the Jacksonville City
Council from 1999 until becoming supervisor of elections. He served on all seven
standing committees and was president of the council in 2002-2003. "I learned
UNF really helps us as a community. When we were attempting to recruit new
businesses to town, we knew we needed a way to provide a trained workforce. UNF
is definitely a partner in fulfilling that responsibility."
Holland's UNF degrees also proved beneficial in other areas. He operated his
own construction and real estate business for several years and was a substitute
teacher in the Duval public schools. He still recalls his urban internship
experience when earning his education degree. "You never felt like you were
alone when you went out to a classroom. You knew you could pick up the phone and
ask for advice."
His love of teaching young people extends to the athletic field, as well.
When his son Brian was a student at the Paxon School for Advanced Studies,
Holland was coincidentally building the school's baseball stadium. When the
baseball coach left, he became involved in an unusual arrangement, agreeing to
raise the money and finish the stadium pro bono if he could coach the baseball
team on which his son played. He ended up being the school's baseball coach for
six years. "I love working with young people. You become their father figure and
they become your kids." Holland and his wife Beverly enjoy their extended
Holland admits he is highly competitive and tries to marry his athletic
pursuits with charity when possible. He raises money for the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society by running in marathons. He has completed four marathons and is
planning for a fifth in the near future. He also enjoys golf and baseball.
Always the coach, he is responsible for organizing the annual softball game when
the elected officials take on the media.
Whether on the baseball diamond or in the election office, Holland insists on
perfection. Even if he doesn't win a baseball game, he makes sure the rules are
followed. That same philosophy extends to the elections office where he prides
himself on impartiality.
The next time you visit a polling place in Duval County and cast a ballot for
your favorite candidate, Jerry Holland will have played a role in giving you a
voice in democracy.
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