It was Braddy vs. Poe at Wednesday’s mayoral debate.

Guests packed the Martin H. Levin Advocacy Center in the UF Levin College of Law, spilling into the jury box.

Lauren Poe, Donald Shepherd and current Mayor Ed Braddy answered questions regarding Gainesville Regional Utility rates, the future of Gainesville and their personal lives.

All three candidates agreed that affordable power is more important than renewable energy.

While both are important, Braddy said, leaning toward renewable energy eliminates the affordability.

“There’s got to be balance,” he said.

During questions about GRU, moderator Marie Edinger had to remind Poe and Braddy not to interrupt each other. Shepherd became more vocal during a question on how to solve underage drinking.  

“My grandma always told me, ‘Alcohol is the devil’s orange juice,’” he said.

He said underage drinkers are simply experimenting, and, as mayor, he would ask for the records of first-time offenders to be expunged. The candidates were also asked their stance on integrity and how they feel about being in the public eye.

All three have been criticized for various incidents, and all three stood up for their principles.

Andrew Romero, a 31-year-old Gainesville resident, said the candidates glossed over important issues.

“I felt like their answers weren’t particularly articulate,” he said.

Romero loves Gainesville, but he said there is room for improvement in local politics.

“Community, and building a stronger community, makes life more interesting,” he said. 

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