Why I’m Running For Office...
For over four decades, I have served the Gainesville/Alachua County and North Florida Central Florida Community both civically and politically.
My civic career began in 1978 as a co-owner of Music Express of Gainesville and W.O.N.E Radio Station where we provided community activities for the community and more specifically the youth. From 1982-87, I served on various advisory boards of the City of Gainesville and Alachua County.
In 1982, I became the Executive Secretary of the Alachua County NAACP. In 1984, on behalf of the NAACP, I petitioned the City of Gainesville to consider changing its unfair at-large system of elections that prohibited African Americans from electing the representative of their choice. In March 1986, the citizens of Gainesville approved a charter amendment to change from at-large voting to a single member and at-large system of voting.
In 1984, I founded the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc. to continue the legacy of Dr. King by fighting for nonviolent social change and to commemorate his life and celebrate his birth. To date we have given over $250,000.00 in scholarships to high school seniors, provides community workshops on diversity, restoration of civil rights and other critical issues. In 1988, Highway 441 was re‑named the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Highway by the Florida Legislature, reaching more than thirty miles through Alachua County from Columbia County to Marion County.
In March 1988, I was elected Gainesville's first single-member district commissioner and re-elected to a second term in March 1991. In May 1991, I was chosen by my colleagues to serve as Gainesville's first district mayor-commissioner. One of my top priorities as a City Commissioner was to implement a charter change to make the Equal Opportunity Director a Charter Officer that would make equity and diversity in the City a higher priority. In November 2002, the voters of the City of Gainesville amended the City Charter to create a Charter Officer for Equal Opportunity.
In November 2000, I was elected to serve on the Alachua County Commission, becoming the first African American to serve on both the City and County Commissions. While serving on the Alachua County Commission, I initiated and chaired the 10 Year Plan To End Homelessness, the City/County Hunger Abatement Plan, and initiated and chaired the Plan East Gainesville (PEG) Economic Development Plan. I was active in the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) and served as President of the Florida Association of Counties for two terms. In May 2011, I was chosen by the National Association of Counties (NACo) to visit with President Obama at the White House to discuss issues facing the nation’s counties.
The voters and residents of Alachua, Levy, and Marion County will need someone who is qualified, experienced and has a proven record of getting things done! I am prepared to serve in the legislature and to address the critical issues facing District 9 and the State of Florida.
Affordable and Workforce Housing: as a licensed real estate broker, I support full funding of the Sadowski Trust Fund for local governments and housing providers.
Criminal Justice and Police Reform: from point of contact with law enforcement, sentencing, Department of Corrections, parole and probation and returning citizens.
Education: improve public education funding from 45th in the nation to the top ten percentile.
Equality For All: regardless of race, sex, age, or sexual orientation.
Medicaid Expansion: to 975,000 Floridians. Florida is one of twelve states that has not implemented Medicaid.
Economic Opportunities: in distressed areas and full implementation of the livable wage approved by the voters of Florida.
Environmental Protection: including ground and surface waters and addressing climate change and sea level rising.
Poverty Reduction: by supporting local funding to reduce homelessness and hunger.
Local Home Rule Authority: as a former local elected official, I will oppose any and all state preemptions, unfunded mandates and local bills that restricts local government’s ability to govern.
With your Vote and Financial Support, I will be honored to be “A Voice of The People” and your next District 9 State Senator!