Mayor John Marks III - USAF Veteran - Tallahassee, FL

Mayor John Marks is a very proud Air Force Veteran. He is quick to tell anyone about his service as a JAG Officer during a time when some Vietnam War Veterans wanted to forget that they served. Marks was among the first African-Americans to attend Florida State University (FSU) and the first African-American to graduate from the FSU Air Force ROTC program. After graduating and passing the Florida Bar exam, Marks began his active duty service in July 1972.

Assigned to the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) he was stationed at Travis Air Force Base California. Captain Marks served two years as a criminal prosecutor and later transferred (July 1974) to JAG Headquarters in Washington D.C. and was stationed at Travis Air Force Base. He served as Defense Counsel for the Pacific Region including California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.

His service during the Vietnam War required that he represent military personnel throughout the Pacific Region, including temporary duty to Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, as well as other bases throughout the Continental United States where he provided legal representation in numerous criminal cases. It was a great honor for him to provide counsel and advice to returning POWs from Hanoi, Vietnam at the end of direct U.S. involvement in the Viet-Nam War. When he was Honorably Discharged (July 1976) Capt.

  • Marks received the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service.
  • He was appointed by Florida Governor Bob Graham to the Florida Public Service Commission from 1980-1988 and was
  • Commission Chairman from 1986-1988.
  • He was elected Mayor of Tallahassee in 2003 and re-elected in 2006 and 2010.
  • He was one of the founders and was the first President of the Florida League of Mayors (2005-2007); and,
  • he also served as President of Florida League of Cities (FLC) (2009-2010).

His community and public service includes:

  • FLC Executive Committee and Municipal Investment Trust;
  • Tallahassee Economic Development Council;
  • Tallahassee/Leon County Civic Center Authority;
  • Sunshine State Governmental Financing Commission;
  • Tiger Bay Speaker’s Forum, Member;
  • Leroy Collins Institute – Board of Directors;
  • Economic Club of Florida, Member;
  • Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S Conference of Mayors.
  • He was a member of the Board of Advisors and Board of Trustees; and, Vice Chairman.
  • Mayor Marks has been recognized for his support of local businesses, veterans, senior citizens, youth empowerment and child literacy programs, and is credited with the implementation of one of the Nation’s more advanced Smart City technology programs.
  • Mayor Marks and his wife Jane, Chaired the United Way of the Big Bend Campaign in year 2000.
  • He recently retired after 35 years on the board of FBMC Benefits Management, Inc., an insurance brokerage and pension benefits management company. He continues to represent FBMC as outside counsel.

As Mayor, he supported many veteran’s activities in Leon County including:

  • Annual Veteran’s Day Parade;
  • Reduction of Veterans Homelessness;
  • Named Tallahassee as the “First Purple Heart Capitol City;”
  • Inaugurated the one year free bus passes for low income veterans; and,
  • recognized veterans with a Star Metro Bus “wrapped” with images of selected local Purple Heart Veterans.

Professional or Employment History

  • 2014-present – Vice President, Part Owner and Principal Black Television News Channel (BTNC)
  • 2014-present – Founder and Chairman of the Board
  • 2009 – present – The Jane and John Marks Foundation, Inc
  • 2016-2017 – Attorney and Senior Partner Marks and Marks, LLC
  • 2003-2014 – Professor (Adjunct) – Mass Media Law Florida A&M University, School of Journalism
  • 2004-2009 – Mayor City of Tallahassee
  • 1982-2017 – Attorney Adorno & Yoss, LLP
  • 1983-2006 – General Counsel and Board of Directors Fringe Benefits Management Company, Inc
  • 1997-2004 – Faculty Member – National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Eastern Utility Rate School
  • 1987-1997 – Attorney Knowles, Marks & Randolph, P.A.
  • 1979-1987 – Attorney Katz, Kutter, Haigler, Alderman, Marks, Bryant & Yon, P.A.
  • 1984-1986 – Commissioner, Chairman (1985-1987) Florida Public Service Commission
  • 1976-1979 – Professor (Adjunct) – Utility Regulatory Law Florida State University College of Law
  • 1972-1976 – Hearing Officer (Administrative Law Judge) Florida Public Service Commission
  • 1972-1974 – Staff Judge Advocate – US Air Force Captain Base Staff Judge Advocate
  • 1974-1976 – Chief Area Defense Counsel

Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:

  • Advocated for and supported the City of Tallahassee’s Annual Veteran’s Day Parade by securing city resources. This included police security, transportation (utilizing City operated Star Metro buses) and support from the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Recognized Veterans killed or wounded while in military service to our country by initiating and successfully having Tallahassee designated a “Purple Heart Capitol City”. The first such designation in the nation.
  • As a member of the US Conference of Mayors Board of Trustees, advocated for, introduced and successfully passed a resolution to designate all US capital cities “Purple Heart Capitol City”. A resolution was eventually passed by the US Conference of Mayors to honor all our servicemen and women and have all the member cities to seek the designation “Purple Heart City”.
  • Provide local support for initiative addressing homelessness among Veterans. Spearheaded and supported city initiatives and other local community based programs to provide homes for Veterans and their families.
  • Supported programs and other initiatives to provide city operated Star Metro one-year bus passes for homeless and unemployed Veterans.
  • In recognition of those who served in the military, Tallahassee has a bus “wrapped” with photos of some of its Purple Heart veterans.

Civic Activities and Contributions:

  • Advanced Demand Side Management and Smart Meter programs: first fully deployed electric, water and gas Smart City systems in the nation.
  • listed John Marks as one of the country’s top 20 Mayors for sustainability.
  • Tallahassee: A City that Reads: The combined efforts of the Mayor’s Office, Leon County Schools, WFSU and PBS/Raising Readers created a monthly book club for Tallahassee children and parents to reinforce the importance of reading. As a part of the program, the Mayor regularly visited Tallahassee schools to promote literacy and teach students and families the importance of education.
  • Back-to-School Community Experience: In partnership with businesses, local churches, and non-profit organizations. Mayor Marks launches the Back-to-School Community Experience which provided free school supplies and numerous other free services to local children before the start of the school year.
  • Mayor’s Summit on Race, Culture and Human Relations: This event focused on communication, reconciliation and responsibility to ensure that the issue of race relations remains a priority.
  • Homeward Bound: Mayor Marks made issues of homelessness a top priority. In 2010, Mayor Marks began a community wide initiative with the goal of reducing homelessness in Tallahassee.
  • Local Business Saturday: Mayor Marks promoted the value of shopping locally through his award winning economic development initiative, Local Business Saturday. As a part of the program, on the second Saturday of every month, Tallahassee Shoppers were encouraged to shop, dine or purchase a service from at least one locally owned business.
  • International Relations: Mayor Marks oversaw the establishment of three new sister city relationships with the cities of Rugao, China, Ramat-Hasharon, Israel and Konongo-Odumasi, Ghana. In addition, the Mayor continued to foster relations with existing sister cities in Sligo, Ireland, St. Maarten, Netherlands and Krasnodar, Russia.
  • Supporting Veterans: As a Vietnam era veteran, Mayor Marks has always been a strong supporter of our nation’s service men and women. In 2012, Mayor Marks proclaimed the City of Tallahassee as the first Purple Heart Capital City in the nation. Since then, the Mayor and his staff have led a national effort to recognize every capital city in the nation as a Purple Heart Capital City through mayoral proclamation.
  • Child Hunger: The Mayor’s Office, in partnership with the Tallahassee Housing Authority, Second Harvest and Florida Impact received a $45,000 grant from the National League of Cities to fight child hunger in our community.
  • Restoration of Passenger Rail Service: Mayor Marks met with leaders from all levels of government to discuss options to restore vital rail service to North Florida.
  • Senior Citizens: Mayor Marks in partnership with private businesses, organized holiday luncheons for seniors in Tallahassee. These luncheons were held at local community centers.

Awards or Honors

  • Inducted into the FSU ROTC Distinguished Graduate Hall of Fame (2018)
  • Designated one of Florida State University’s 100 Most Distinguished Graduate (2014)
  • Inducted into the Florida State University Alumni Circle of Gold (2012)
  • Keynote speaker at Florida A&M University’s Commencement ceremonies (2010)
  • Inducted into the Florida A&M University’s College of Education Gallery of Distinction (2008)
  • Designated a Florida Super Lawyer by Florida Super Lawyer’s magazine (2006, 2007)
  • Member of the Florida State University President’s Club (1989)
  • Florida State University Athletic Booster (1980 – present)
  • Florida A&M University Athletic Booster (1980 – present)
  • Awarded USAF Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service (1976)
  • Name Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities (1969)
  • Inducted into the Florida State University’s Gold Key Leadership Honorary (1968)