Annie Orlando sat in her office holding a purple tote bag advertising her City Commission At-Large Seat 2 campaign screenprinted on the front.
“I’ve got them on the merchandise side of campaigning, that’s for sure,” she said.
Orlando, owner of Atlas Screen Printing in southeast Gainesville, said she plans to use her business experience to carry out her commission platform, which consists of holding the commission to a higher standard, supporting the development of east Gainesville and getting Gainesville Regional Utilities back on track.
Orlando, 59, said she became involved in city government after watching it change during the 25 years she has lived in town. To hold the commission more accountable, Orlando said she’s going to encourage more resident involvement by extending citizen comment privileges during commission meetings.
“You can’t make good decisions unless you keep an open mind and listen to all points of view,” she said.
As Orlando’s involvement in local government grew, she became a founding member of the East Gainesville Development Task Force, now called the East Gainesville Development Corporation. Although she’s not involved in the nonprofit now, she said she plans to continue building up that area of town.
Additionally, Orlando said she wants to find a new GRU general manager, one who will help the city “get back on its feet” after energy prices skyrocketed.
Sam Collins, 67, said he decided to head Orlando’s campaign because of her ability to bring people together.
“We forget sometimes we’re really all trying to get the same thing. We don’t need to be so toxic,” he said. “Annie brings an antidote to that kind of politics.”
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 3/10/2014]