Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, December 02, 2021

Bottcher, Chase take their seats on city commission

Two political newcomers officially took their seats on the Gainesville City Commission as Susan Bottcher and Todd Chase were officially sworn in at the Thelma Boltin Senior Activity Center on Thursday. Bottcher, a homemaker who spent years involved in community activism before running for office this spring, replaces Warren Nielsen, who until Thursday was serving as a replacement for former commissioner Jack Donovan, who gave up his seat in his unsuccessful bid for the Alachua County Commission.

Chase, a local businessman and former Navy pilot, defeated former city commissioner Lauren Poe in a campaign that stressed disciplined fiscal practices and "common sense leadership."

After taking his oath on a family Bible, Chase told those gathered of the struggles of those living in his district. He portrayed his district, District 2, as a place where, like many others across the country, families are having trouble paying off their mortgages and business-owners are feeling crunched by the tightening economy.

"We have tremendous opportunity before us," Chase said, "but we also have tremendous challenges."

Bottcher, in contrast, presented a more uplifting message. Having lived in Gainesville since her time as a UF student, she recalled how Gainesville was only known as Playboy's "Number One Party School in America" when she was a student in the 1970s.

But now, Bottcher said, Gainesville has much more to offer as she rattled off rankings that praised the city for its high quality of life.

"It's hard not to be optimistic about Gainesville in the future," she said.

During the ceremony, the new commission passed its first official motion together as it unanimously appointed Commissioner Thomas Hawkins as the new mayor pro tempore.

Hawkins was also sworn in for another three-year term on the city commission after winning his respective race in March. He said that while his new position only carries ceremonial weight - he now has the power to chair meetings and attend events in place of Mayor Craig Lowe - it demonstrates a level of trust from his fellow commissioners, which he described as "humbling."

"It's a testament to the people who think I'm doing a good job," he said.

While the office of City Commission is technically a non-partisan seat, much was made about party affiliation during the campaign season. Those partisan divides could be clearly seen at Thursday's ceremony as the majority of Bottcher supporters sat on the left side of the room while the bulk of Chase supporters sat on the right side of the room.

Chase, who became the first Republican to hold a commission seat since 2008, said party affiliations will not prohibit him from working with his fellow commissioners.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

"If a simple letter after someone's name means you disregard every thought, then you're part of the problem," he said.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2021 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.