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Thursday, June 20, 2024

The majority of the Gainesville City Commission has chosen to financially support the opponent of a current commissioner's mentee.

Four commissioners have donated to Yvonne Hinson-Rawls, who is running for the District 1 seat on the Gainesville City Commission, despite the fact that current District 1 Commissioner Scherwin Henry has mentored, publicly endorsed and donated to District 1 candidate Armando Grundy.

Mayor Craig Lowe, Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa, Commissioner Susan Bottcher and Commissioner Thomas Hawkins have donated to Hinson-Rawls' campaign, according to campaign finance reports from the office of the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections.

Though they are all commissioners, Lowe said they don't always have the same opinions.

"I respect Mr. Henry and his decision to endorse Mr. Grundy," Lowe said. "But I happen to believe Mrs. Hinson-Rawls is the best candidate."

Henry said part of the voting process is being able to support any candidate.

"People like candidates for different reasons," Henry said. "As for why my other colleagues are supporting one of [Grundy's] opponents, I have no clue."

Henry told the Alligator in November that Grundy has worked hard to prepare himself for the role on the commission.

Lowe said he supports Hinson-Rawls in the District 1 race because her understanding of city issues and her ideas on how to approach them are the most "mature."

Hawkins declined to comment.

As one of two female commissioners, Mastrodicasa said she supports Hinson-Rawls because she wants to continue to encourage women to become involved on the commission.

Mastrodicasa said she also liked Hinson-Rawls' plans to include District 1 in the city's innovation initiatives.

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A fan of her personality, Bottcher said Hinson-Rawls has the "no-nonsense attitude" that is needed in city government.

"She is a woman of conviction, and she is intelligent," Bottcher said. "Even if I was not a city commissioner, I would back her."

Grundy, an Army veteran, has been involved with the Alachua County Charter Review Commission and the Alachua County Veterans Advisory Board.

Hinson-Rawls, a retired educator, has been in education administration and has started her own child tutoring business, Childstart Learning Solutions.

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