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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

While political pundits and election experts painfully regurgitate the results from Iowa and New Hampshire and supply their own twisted analyses, Florida is gearing up for its earliest primary ever.

The buzz over Barack Obama's early victory in Iowa or Rudy Giuliani's fall from grace probably has you wishing this election year was over before it even begins, and you're not alone. The media sure make it easy to get irritated to the point of apathy.

But, there is something you can do at the polls on Jan. 29 that will actually affect what happens right here in Gainesville.

Unlike the presidential primary elections, which are closed to those not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic party, the Gainesville City Commission has three open seats on the ballot, which any registered voter can select.

Choosing who sits on the commission may not seem as sexy as backing Obama or stumping for Ron Paul, but it may determine a lot more of your life here in Gainesville than you think.

Who decides how much you have to pay to get your car back after a tow? How much will rents around town increase? When will University Corners ever be finished? Why does everyone have to clear out of the bar at 2 a.m.?

The commission has the power to directly influence what we as students do, where we can afford to live and how this booming college town manages its growth. And this year, two students are in the commission mix - one from SFCC and a former UF Student Senate president.

So if you can muster the strength to walk past even more far-too-enthusiastic campaigners - tastefully 100 feet from the polling place, of course - do it.

After all, this is your home for the next four years. Or five, or six…

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