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Friday, June 21, 2024

As the only candidate running for re-election on the Gainesville City Commission District 3 ballot, Jack Donovan is proud of what he has accomplished in his three-year term.

"We've changed the city in a lot of ways that are really great," he said.

He's most proud of his work with the homeless, energy conservation, neighborhood code enforcement, and traffic congestion.

Donovan said he has helped bring in an $18 million grant to improve traffic synchronization from the Florida Department of Transportation. Donovan also stopped other commissioners from voting for a coal-burning power plant that would have harmed the environment, he said.

"Before I got on the commission, it was a go deal as far as I can tell," he said.

Donovan said he hopes to continue his work in those areas for the next term, as well as to focus on the quality of life, the environment and the city's economic development. He said he also wants to improve the city's road grid so drivers can better avoid congested areas.

Donovan said he discourages development in West Gainesville and favors building downtown. He has voted for financial incentives for large-scale building projects in the downtown area.

"It's a worthwhile thing to partner with the developer," he said. "It's not so much providing a tax incentive as it's providing a partnership."

He supports development in East Gainesville as well, he said.

The divisions between east and west Gainesville show a problem he said few candidates address - race and class divisions. Segregated housing patterns result in segregated schools, which is a problem he wants to address if he is re-elected, he said.

Donovan would also like to see police in the east work with juvenile offenders to find alternative punishments to jail.

A Gainesville resident for 21 years, Donovan is a former minister and has worked with UF students to create internships with the city commission.

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He graduated from Harvard University and has a daughter at SFCC, a daughter at UF's Levin College of Law and a son who graduated from UF.

"Even though my education was up north, my family are Gators," he said.

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