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Thursday, June 20, 2024

UF Student Government is giving local politicians a reason to put UF back on their radar.

While Gainesville voter turnout is usually pretty high compared to the rest of Florida, student-dominated precincts have much worse percentages.

To promote the education of candidates and increase voter turnout, the UF Student Government Community Political Affairs Cabinet will be hosting a Gainesville City Commission Debate among District 3 Gainesville City Commission candidates. This particular area is largely populated with student residents, many of whom once lived in the dormitories.

The event will take place Thursday in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“I believe the student population should take an active role in city politics because these representatives are making decisions on their behalf,” said Lindsay Davis, director of the community affairs political affairs cabinet.

Davis, the main organizer of the event, said the debate will focus on current student issues, such as the high cost of rent and utilities, cab fare gouging and underage drinking concerns. It will also give the candidates an opportunity to discuss their platform ideas with students.

The debate, hosted by UF political science professor Daniel Smith, will be followed by an open forum during which the students can personally address the candidates with their concerns.

Stacy Eichner, president of UF College Democrats, said hosting the debate on campus allows more students to know a City Commission election is coming up. It provides students an opportunity to become educated on the issues and candidates so they are motivated to go out and vote on March 15.

“Students will realize the importance of having a voice in the city election since Gainesville is most students’ home for four years or more,” she said.

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