Why I’m Running For Office...
For over four decades, I have served the Gainesville/Alachua County and North Florida Community both civically and politically. I have seen and most importantly, been a part of positive change for this area.
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 $215,000.00 in scholarships to high school seniors, provides community workshops on diversity, restoration of civil rights and other important issues. In 1988, Highway 441 was re‑named the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Highway by the Florida Legislature, reaching more than 30 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. After several setbacks, the voters of the City of Gainesville in 2002 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 first election in this decade for House District 20 is very important! The voters and residents of Alachua and Marion County will need someone who is qualified, experienced and has a proven track record of getting things done! I am prepared to hit the ground running to address the issues of: Affordable and Workforce Housing by supporting full funding of the Sadowski Trust Fund for local governments and housing providers; Criminal Justice Reform from point of contact with law enforcement through completion of sentencing; Education, including funding public schools infrastructure and teachers’ salaries; Poverty Reduction by supporting local funding to reduce homelessness and hunger; Economic Opportunities in distressed areas and supporting a livable wage; Medicaid Expansion; Protecting Our Ground and Surface Waters, Global Warming and Climate Change; and, Local Home Rule Authority by opposing any and all unfunded mandates and local bills that restricts local governments ability to govern. With your Vote and Financial Support, I will continue the legacy and build on the success of great leadership for House District 20!