Editor’s note: This is the first part of a series that profiles candidates running in the 2013 mayoral race.
Ed Braddy is a back-to-the-basics guy who thinks Gainesville needs new leadership.
Braddy, 41, is running for mayor in Tuesday’s Gainesville city elections on a platform to advocate small-business growth and improve communication between the city and its residents.
“I’m very disappointed in the leadership out of City Hall,” he said.
Braddy is the testing coordinator at Santa Fe College and the executive director for the American Dream Coalition, a nonprofit think tank that promotes market-oriented solutions to urban problems.
He has lived in Gainesville since 1991. After he graduated from Santa Fe College, Braddy earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UF and a master’s degree in American history at James Madison University.
From 2002 to 2008, Braddy served as the District 2 City Commissioner. He said his experience on the commission helped him learn how to lead and address city issues.
“You’ve got to go to where the people are to understand their concerns,” he said.
If elected mayor, Braddy said he would work to improve public safety services and repair city infrastructure.
“You can’t sit there and let them fall into disrepair,” he said.
Braddy added that he would treat residents with respect during public meetings and show an interest in affordability for residents. To Braddy, the public comments section of City Commission meetings has become a “highly contested event.” He wants to fix that by giving people more time to share their ideas.
“It’s not the mayor’s meeting,” he said. “It’s the people’s meeting. If people want to take four minutes or five minutes, let them talk for four minutes or five minutes.”
Debbie Martinez, a former downtown business owner, said she has known Braddy since 1998. She agrees with Braddy’s goal to connect the government and residents. She supported his opposition to a city biomass contract.
“Ed Braddy is the only mayoral candidate with the good judgment on these issues,” she said. “He’s confident, and he’s experienced.”