Commissioner at large and Mayor Pro Tempore Harvey Budd is running for re-election because he feels incomplete.
Budd, who was elected to his first three-year term in 2015, said the time he has served hasn’t been enough to make major changes. However, the 70-year-old said he’s ready to use his experience in local government to continue serving the people as the at large Seat 1 commissioner.
“Who’s ready to go on day one? I believe I am,” Budd said.
His current term as city commissioner was Budd’s first time in elected office. Before that, he worked on the Gainesville City Planning Board and Gainesville’s Cultural Commission. He was also on the Alachua County Planning Commission and Alachua County School Board One Mill Oversight Committee.
“Under Harvey Budd, you can write ‘Experience that matters,’” Budd said.
Budd graduated from UF in 1969 with a degree in business administration and attended the Levin College of Law for two years.
During his time at UF, Budd was The Alligator’s accountant, he said.
Budd is a certified public accountant, which gives him financial insight and a better understanding of the city budget, he said.
Two and a half years ago, it was the messy finances of Gainesville Regional Utilities that inspired Budd to run for office.
“I wanted to stop the hemorrhaging,” Budd said.
Budd addressed this by helping set up the Utility Advisory Board. It was one of his proudest accomplishments in his first term, he said.
In his second term, Budd wants to focus on creating affordable housing and reducing poverty in the city.
“In order to solve the disparity between East and West Gainesville, we have to solve affordable housing,” Budd said.
Budd also wants to bring new businesses and developments to East Gainesville. He is currently working to bring a Wawa convenience store to the city and plans to create a shopping center on Northeast Eighth Avenue and Waldo Road, Budd said.
Gainesville native Ilene Silverman-Budd, Budd’s wife of 35 years, remembers hugging her husband when he won the runoff election for his first term.
“That was a moment of pure joy,” Silverman-Budd said.
Silverman-Budd said a second term would be an opportunity for Budd to serve the community by bringing together his years in business and knowledge of local government.
“I feel like he has a good understanding of this community,” Silverman-Budd said.