GRU, CLIMATE CHANGE, & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE


Among cities in Florida, Gainesville already leads in renewable energy. As Mayor, I will continue our city on the path to making GRU’s energy production 100% renewable by 2045. Under my leadership, we will not be waiting twenty years to take action on climate. As Mayor, I will insist on establishing data-driven targets for reducing carbon pollution across our entire city. In the first 100 days of my term, I will ask the GRU manager to scale back the fuel adjustment rate, which will make a difference in utility bills immediately. In order to keep GRU financially solvent, we have two choices: we cut GRU spending or our neighbors have higher bills. As Mayor, I will always push to cut GRU spending to prevent our bills from being even higher. I will continue advocating for investment in more energy efficient homes so that our energy bills are lower during the hottest and coldest months of the year.

In our work we will always center the communities and ecosystems that are being harmed most by climate change. In my capacity as your City Commissioner, I am serving on the Environmental Justice subcommittee that is comprehensively addressing these issues. Read more about my record and our platform to combat climate change:

  • Purchasing 700+ acres of land for conservation within the City of Gainesville in partnership with Alachua County and the Alachua Conservation Trust
  • Preventing the Weyerhaeuser Company from developing more than 1,700 acres on its silviculture property in NW Gainesville
  • Opposing the construction of new natural gas pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Applying for statewide education grants for Community Rooftop Solar in partnership with the NAACP and Alachua County
  • Creating science-based carbon reduction targets citywide for 2025 through 2030
  • Establishing high performance energy standards for our current government buildings
  • Eliminating carbon emissions for all new government buildings
  • Creating incentives to promote energy positive buildings that generate more energy than they use
  • Guaranteeing access to residential weatherization to expand energy conservation 
  • Educating members of our community and children in our schools about conservation and sustainability
  • Including citizens and environmental justice activists in decision-making processes
  • Increasing the accessibility of our roads for pedestrians and bicyclists 
  • Ensuring robust racial equity analysis for all climate decisions
  • Creating a circular economic plan to keep our local economy strong
  • Preserving and empowering our historically Black neighborhoods within Gainesville

UNIVERSAL ZERO WASTE


In Gainesville, we are developing a long-term Zero Waste Master Plan to make our city fully sustainable by 2040. This year we will be passing the Zero Waste Ordinance which will move us substantially toward our goal by requiring residents and commercial properties to follow our comprehensive plan. Here are some of the objectives we will be pursuing in the Mayor’s office:

  • Developing a Circular Economy Plan of sharing, reusing, refusing, recycling, and repairing rather than buying new. As Mayor, I will support businesses like the Repurpose Project and supplement their hard work with city initiatives. 
  • Providing citywide residential curbside food waste collection 
  • Requiring businesses to separate food waste for garbage collection
  • Deflecting student apartment complex waste during move-in and move-out
  • Requiring all grocery stores, restaurants, and other food vendors to divert their food waste from garbage streams 
  • Ensuring indoor recycling containers for all multi-family residences

PUBLIC TRANSIT


Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) provides an essential service to the people of our city.  Everyone regardless of their age, ability, or income should be able to use RTS to get to work, visit their physician, or meet up with friends. When more people ride RTS buses, we reduce our carbon footprint and lower congestion on our busy streets. That’s why the Commission passed fare free riding for minors (under age 18) and seniors (over age 65). By 2026, we should expand free rides to everyone in our city.

  • Expanding our-on-demand First Mile Last Mile shuttle service to every corner of Gainesville
  • Making RTS a truly county wide service to benefit everyone in Alachua County
  • Expanding partner contracts to include more service throughout the urbanized area 
  • Funding more electric vehicles – we have already purchased two electric buses that will save RTS money and reduce our carbon emissions

BIKE & PEDESTRIAN ROADWAYS


As Mayor, I will create a bicycle roadway system that connects all of Gainesville’s bike trails and protects bicyclists from car traffic. This idea was originally called the Infinity Line and was brought to the City Commission as a UF graduate project. The project will take years to complete, but will eventually connect the trails of North, East, South, and West Gainesville. The people of Gainesville will be able to get anywhere in our city while safely riding on our bike trails away from dangerous roadways.

  • Reducing speed limits throughout our city to educate drivers on how to share the roads in our neighborhoods and commercial areas 
  • Advocating for a complete street makeover of West and East University Avenue where pedestrian deaths have tragically occurred 
  • Expanding enforcement of traffic rules to address speeding concerns near our neighborhoods

QUEER & GENDER INCLUSION


Gainesville celebrates our LGBTQ+ community in many ways. We support legal rights through our Human Rights Ordinance prohibiting any discrimination by local businesses or governments. We sponsor Pride Month in October (and enjoy the usual celebration in June). As Mayor I will continue to foster inclusivity and pursue more policies to achieve that. 

  • Supporting gender transition health care as an approved service under Gainesville’s employee health plan 
  • Requiring all public restrooms provide menstrual products to the public free of charge
  • Closing fully the gender pay gap for all positions at City Hall

AFFORDABLE HOUSING & EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT


In a continuation of our work to expand affordable housing, Gainesville will soon become the first city in Florida to center racial equity in our land development and comprehensive zoning plans. All families regardless of their race or socioeconomic status should be able to choose an affordable home anywhere in our city. These families also deserve public workshops that allow them to mitigate the impacts of new housing developments. As Mayor, I will work every day to deliver on our inclusive vision for Gainesville by building more affordable housing.

  • Chairing committee that passed the Renters’ Bill of Rights with substantial input from tenants and landlords to ensure old rental housing meets health and safety specifications
  • Requiring all new development regardless of zone to include affordable housing
  • Requiring all new housing to contribute to the newly created Housing Trust which will provide resources for affordable housing projects 
  • Providing inclusive and educational neighborhood workshops for new housing developments that affect neighborhoods
  • Funding Community Land Trusts for family homes threatened by gentrification
  • Expanding partnership with Gainesville Housing Authority to build more affordable housing with State, Federal, and local funding
  • Eliminating parking requirements to allow for more space for housing developments to be used for housing and green space
  • Expanding GRACE Marketplace Street Outreach Team to contact our neighbors living without a home
  • Establishing funding streams for the Alachua County Housing Trust and continuing to support Housing First policies

TECHNOLOGY


Our technology infrastructure provides the support necessary for better public services and policy decisions. Ultimately, greater connectivity allows our local government to respond more effectively to the needs of our city. 

  • Funding Smart City Bus Benches that include Wi-Fi for waiting passengers
  • Expanding high-speed internet access to homes in underserved, privately monopolized, and rural areas
  • Securing funding through partnerships with the Biden Administration and the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners
  • Supporting Citywide cybersecurity governance body, data security officer, and a cybersecurity risk management program
  • Funding free Wi-Fi in all of Gainesville’s major parks
  • Providing computer labs in neighborhood community centers and hosting local tech education programs

PUBLIC HEALTH


The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on our community even though the Commission and I strongly promoted public health measures like social distancing indoors, mask wearing, and vaccination programs. Instead of re-litigating the events of the pandemic, I will focus on overcoming public health issues that already plagued Gainesville before the pandemic and were in many cases exacerbated over the last two years.

  • Supporting a new UF Health Eastside clinic to allow patients to receive care after hours
  • Expanding Community Resource Paramedic program that services frequent 911 ambulance callers
  • Sponsoring a resolution opposing abortion bans in Florida similar to the outrageous law passed in Texas that legalizes private citizens to become vigilantes and report on their neighbors 
  • Serving on the UF President’s Alcohol Coalition to reduce alcohol related deaths, violence, and other health problems among our young people 

PUBLIC SAFETY


Our fire and police departments continue to constitute the largest parts of Gainesville’s budget. Our investments in these critical services demonstrate our commitment to keeping our citizens safe, but more must be done. Dangerous roadways must be treated as the threats to public safety that they truly represent. Too often, pedestrians are tragically dying on our roads in accidents that could be prevented through smart public policy and effective intergovernmental collaboration.

  • Combating the epidemic of gun violence by implementing a comprehensive prevention program which includes buying back large numbers of guns and using police interrupters to work with youth who are in danger of coming into contact with firearms
  • Suing the State of Florida for prohibiting our city from regulating the possession of firearms on city property or even discussing the possibility of gun reform 
  • Voting to raise GPD and GFR salaries in multiple union contracts to ensure that our people are taken care of and receive living wages
  • Approving renovations and safety upgrades for South Main Street to protect the public

LABOR


For five years on the City Commission, I have been championing the rights of working people to respect and dignity. Securing justice for laboring people is not merely about ensuring living wages and pay equity though these are critical priorities. We must additionally work to overcome an economic system that exploits, mistreats, and abuses workers to increase the profits of the powerful. As Mayor, I will continue supporting the rights of workers to fair compensation, safe working conditions, and good benefits. 

  • Securing living wages of at least $15 per hour for all city employees 
  • Sponsoring, before any other Commissioner, the proposal to immediately end all prison labor contracts which are exploitative and contrary to Gainesville values
  • Reaching an agreement with all local employees’ unions which raised wages and addressed other working concerns 
  • Passing a guaranteed living wage for all government contractors and opposing Tallahassee’s efforts to preempt this critical local ordinance 
  • Advocating for apprenticeship preference when selecting local contractors for bids
  • Addressing the report recommending that our previous City Manager be terminated by attempting to amicably part ways with the employee despite the majority voting to retain the officer 
  • Attempting to keep multiple Charter Officers from resigning due to their lack of support from the majority of the City Commission

PARKS AND RECREATION


Our Parks and Recreation Department provides dozens of neighborhood parks along with the world class Depot Park. We must continue opening more parks that feature diverse options for people of all ages, backgrounds, and ability levels. As your next Mayor, I will work to ensure that our children receive more playgrounds, our athletes get more fields and courses, and our families can enjoy the beauty of Gainesville in our city parks. 

  • Opening parks within a safe 10-minute walk of every Gainesville neighborhood
  • Building a new park in Southwest Gainesville to ensure no part of our city is left out of our efforts 
  • Creating a new Rattlesnake Creek Park in central Gainesville 
  • Remediating Sweetwater Park and daylighting full Sweetwater Branch Creek for public enjoyment
  • Supporting the remediation of Boulware Springs into a public park
  • Supporting Cultural Arts Center in East Gainesville for the public to enjoy 
  • Advocating the reauthorization of Wild Spaces and Public Places 
  • Establishing a new Disc Golf course in Gainesville 
  • Creating a new Senior Center in East Gainesville for all to enjoy
  • Completing renovations of Forest Park to include lighted athletic fields and additional seating
  • Coordinating renovation of Citizen’s Field with Alachua County Public Schools

CHILD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT


Our children and youth are our greatest treasure in Gainesville. As Mayor, I will continue working to expand Child and Youth services in Gainesville and Alachua County. We will work to expand the city’s role in supporting our wonderful youth services throughout our region. 

  • Funding fully the new Child and Youth Services Division within Gainesville Parks and Recreation 
  • Hiring and training youth with American Rescue Plan funding for a Youth Corps job program within Gainesville that would connect youth with voluntary internships, apprenticeships, and other career-oriented jobs 
  • Creating a community wide system of wrap around services to support our children and youth by partnering with Alachua County Public Schools and the Alachua County Commission
  • Funding an Eastside Cultural Arts Center with programming for all youth providing after-school services and cultural education 
  • Creating a Mayor’s Youth Council to create a direct line of communication between young people and the Mayor’s Office to prioritize the needs of our youth 
  • Ending our city’s culture of violence by implementing a comprehensive anti-violence program that detects and interrupts conflict before it escalates
  • Identifying and treating the highest risk individuals by expanding opportunities for our youth to live productive and meaningful lives free of domestic and interpersonal violence

LOCAL ECONOMY


Our local economy in Gainesville continues to be filled with numerous opportunities to secure a good job, buy from local companies, and start a small business. As Mayor, I will create the first Gainesville Economic Development Strategy that centers the individual needs of our local businesses. By building meaningful and lasting relationships between City Hall and our vibrant business community, we can fully unleash the economic potential of Gainesville. 

  • Implementing the first Gainesville Economic Development Strategy will allow the city to attract more businesses, assist businesses with getting started, and offer a unique opportunity to receive feedback on how the city can help businesses and customers 
  • Improving our relationships with the business community by passing the first of its kind in our city, Gainesville Economic Development Strategy
  • Collaborating with Santa Fe College and Alachua County Public Schools to provide career and technical training curricula for in demand jobs in Gainesville
  • Improving Gainesville’s start-up business incubator network by helping people access office space and industry mentors 
  • Completing the Power District development downtown to transform empty warehouse space into a walkable area for businesses, parks, and the future Sweetwater Creek Greenway 

COLLABORATIVE LOCAL GOVERNANCE


As a Commissioner, I have been committed to governing responsibly with our partner governments. Without justification, however, Gainesville has been specifically targeted by Governor Ron DeSantis’ government in Tallahassee. As Mayor, I will continue standing up against the governor’s interference in matters of local government. Here are some of the ways we are fighting back: 

  • Challenging Ron DeSantis’ signature bill ‘HB1’ which restricts the First Amendment rights of peaceful protestors and limits local governments’ authority over our own public safety budgets 
  • Supporting academic freedom at the University of Florida for our many professors and students who have been retaliated against by the Tallahassee government for daring to challenge DeSantis  
  • Supporting bans on single use plastic bags, straws, and Styrofoam even as the governor undermines our ability to protect the health of our ecosystems and communities 
  • Supporting mask requirements, social distancing, and COVID-19 testing during the pandemic while DeSantis was hiding COVID-19 data to make his administration look competent
  • Funding more community testing to prepare Gainesville for potential new variant surges 
  • Developing purchasing and procurement policies that reflect the demographics of our city including more competitive contract opportunities for minority and women owned businesses 

LANGUAGE ACCESS & IMMIGRANT INCLUSION


In 2021, Gainesville launched the Gainesville Immigrant Neighbors Inclusion Initiative (GINI) so that non-English speakers could better access our local government. As Mayor, I will support fully funding this project to make Gainesville a fully language inclusive city. After we have accomplished this, I believe we should explore creating an International Center that will house immigrant neighbor services, provide language access opportunities, and serve as a community center. 

UF-GNV ACCOUNTABILITY


The historic partnership between UF and Gainesville demands mutual accountability and requires a focus on delivering for the people rather than on ensuring profits for the few. While I strongly oppose Ron DeSantis’ interference in the UF Administration through the placement of his donors on the Board of Governors, I will continue developing new relationships with UF so that we can focus on our common mission of serving the public. As Mayor, here are some of the policies I will support: 

  • Creating a partnership with the Center for Arts and Medicine to provide community spaces for arts and cultural programming in East Gainesville 
  • Providing UF Start-Up companies with incubation and acceleration assistance by offering financial incentives and investment opportunities
  • Supporting Civic Collaboration Spaces with Reimagine Gainesville to provide professional support and mentorship to change-makers in Gainesville so that community ideas can secure the resources necessary to thrive