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Saturday, June 03, 2023
<p>Dejeon Cain, a Gainesville City Commission candidate for the At-Large 1 seat, poses for a photo Sunday.</p>

Dejeon Cain, a Gainesville City Commission candidate for the At-Large 1 seat, poses for a photo Sunday.

Dejeon Cain has heard about the 2 a.m. drunk rush.

As a police service technician for the University Police Department, he's heard about the migration of drunken 20-somethings down University Avenue when downtown and midtown bars shut their doors.

He wants the city to let bars and clubs stay open until 4 a.m. but stop serving liquor at 2 a.m.

To change that situation and other issues he's seen around the city, he's running for the Gainesville City Commission At-Large 1 seat. He's one of six candidates.

"We're a college town - our students need things to do," said Cain, 27. "We want to make sure they have time to sober up."

Born and raised in Gainesville, Cain graduated from Gainesville High School in 2003.

He was a member of the Gainesville Police Explorers, a youth program run by the Gainesville Police Department, from 14 to 21.

He said he put in thousands of hours as a security guard for the Medieval Hoggetowne Faire and was a member of the Black on Black Crime Task Force.

He was a sergeant by 16 and UPD employee by 23.

Now he spends his time at the Health Science Center as a security guard.

However, he said he wants to do more to guard the city.

If elected, he said he wants to extend UPD's Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, better known as SNAP, to the apartment complexes on Archer Road.

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He said he wants to give other utilities companies, such as Clay Electric, the chance to operate in Gainesville, rather than allow Gainesville Regional Utilities to "monopolize" the city.

He said he thinks that change would help grow Gainesville's economy.

He also said he wants to reinstate a warning system for residents who forget to pay their utilities bills. He'd like to see someone from the utility company call residents to remind them about the bills before residents' power or water are shut off.

"People appreciated that," he said. "And I'd like to see that come back."

When he talks about why he decided to launch his campaign despite a lack of political experience, he leans forward in his chair. He smiles, and his round cheeks rise.

"I'm a city man. I'm a man of God. I'm for people," he said. "I'm just so excited, and nothing can steal my joy."

A red, white and blue star was stitched onto his navy blue polo.

He said he's searching for campaign volunteers and is already planning for Election Day.

On that day, he said, he wants to take two vans and drive around the city picking up voters who wouldn't otherwise be able to make it to the polls.

He said he's been thinking and praying about running for more than two years.

"I've just been watching, watching things," Cain said. "To run for office, you have to be humble. ... And you have to be ready to take on the issues for the people."

He said he doesn't think the current commission always makes decisions that the citizens agree with.

He said he wants to be "that voice that can talk but also act."

"I'm an everyday citizen. I ain't someone who's a politician," he said. "I'm ready."

Dejeon Cain, a Gainesville City Commission candidate for the At-Large 1 seat, poses for a photo Sunday.

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