SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- James Joyce III isn’t a stranger to local politics, after working with a former state senator.
“I’ve been a resident for the past decade working for State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson, here in the district," said Joyce. "And founder of Coffee with a Black Guy, my business.”
Now he’s hoping to lead the city of Santa Barbara as mayor.
“Santa Barbara is a world-class city, we’ve got a lot of great assets here," said Joyce. "We just need a little bit of leadership to kind of bring all of those elements together.”
Joyce thinks the city needs to take a new approach when it comes to making improvements and tackling certain issues.
“This homelessness is really in our face," said Joyce. "And that issue is coupled with our housing crisis. And the challenges we have with the increased cost of housing.”
In terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joyce said he wishes there was better messaging from the city during the early stages. He also wished there was more testing and vaccination sites closer to neighborhoods.
“As we’re coming out of COVID we really have an opportunity to look forward into the next five, ten years," said Joyce. "And status quo thinking and status quo action is not going to be what’s going to get us where we belong.”
If elected Joyce said he'll focus on uniting city hall and in the community after what he said were a divisive couple of years due to the pandemic, 2020 election and recall election.
“We’re seeing that division here in our community and people are sick of it," said Joyce. "They really want to build community and get to know our neighbors. And I think that’s something is going to help us moving forward.”
WATCH: 2021 Santa Barbara City Mayoral Forum
WATCH: Extended Interview with James Joyce III