The race is on for Gainesville City Commission seats

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Monday night candidates for Gainesville City Commission at large and district one sat down to answer the big question, ‘why them?’

“I’m a producer. I want to make things happen, I’m not a seat warmer,” said Charles Goston, the current district one commissioner.

Goston is fighting to keep that seat come March 20th as he battles against Gigi Simmons and Tyra Edwards.

Edwards was unavailable for a statement as she did not attend Monday’s forum.

“I understand the community,” said Gigi Simmons, district one commissioner candidate. “I understand the needs of the community. In addition to that, I went to school to get educated on how government functions and how organizations work…so with that insight and broader knowledge I’m able to bridge the gap between community and government.”

Goston said his previous experience and is of utmost importance, and cannot be matched.

“I want to continue to expand,” Goston said. “And you just can’t do that with someone who doesn’t have experience, you just cannot.”

Harvey Budd is also fighting to keep his seat as commissioner at large against Gail Johnson.

“We need to have a safe city,” said Johnson, commissioner at large candidate.” “We need to have an economically viable city, we need to have a city where everyone can work live and play.”

Each candidate brings a unique perspective to the table.

Whether it’s as a single mother, business owner, or a long-time Gainesville native…there is not one cookie-cutter commissioner.

“I’m 70 years old,” said Harvey Budd, current at large commissioner. “Now how many people on the commission represent seniors? You have a lot of young people on the commission, young people in their 20s 30s and 40s, but who’s the senior guy? I’m the senior guy. So I have to talk for a very large segment of the community.”

The Gainesville Citizens for Active Transportation is hosting another candidate forum Tuesday night that will focus on active transportation issues such as bicycling, transit, pedestrian and disability access. That forum starts at 6 p.m. at the Santa Fe College Center for Innovation and Economic Development at 530 W. University Ave. It is free and open to the public.

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