In the second debate before the April 16 Gainesville mayoral runoff election, Ed Braddy was the only candidate present.
The Alachua County Black Democratic Caucus hosted the forum at the Alachua County Administration Building. About 30 people attended, but Mayor Craig Lowe was absent.
Lowe couldn’t participate because of a fundraising event scheduled before Monday’s forum was announced, said Lowe’s campaign manager Nick Mildebrath.
Lowe also missed the Feb. 11 Democratic Black Caucus debate because of a family emergency.
“It’s amazing to me that you have a mayor that wants to run this city … and he disrespects all of the African-Americans and other voters that we represent,” said forum co-moderator Charles Goston.
Without an opponent in the debate, Braddy answered questions from Goston about transportation, the biomass plant and leadership.
Braddy said he believes a proposed lane reduction on Northwest Eighth Avenue is a bad idea.
He also discussed his support for the city to back out of its current biomass contract with Gainesville Renewable Energy Center.
Regarding his leadership style, Braddy said he would allow residents more time to voice their concerns at City Commission meetings.
“I believe strongly in our representative system of government,” he said. “You have to make sure the people are in charge of the government.”
Goston said Lowe’s second absence at the Democratic Black Caucus could hurt his campaign.
“Tonight was the opportunity to let black voters know that we can no longer allow this 2 percent ... to control and select the people that represent us,” he said.
The next forum will be at 7 p.m. today at Oaks Hammock, located at 5100 SW 25th Blvd. Mildebrath said Lowe is expected to attend.