To Helen K. Warren, holding political office is a lot like buying a house. To make the buyers happy, a realtor has to listen to what clients need, find solutions to problems that arise and negotiate a compromise.
Warren, 60, has been a realtor for 11 years, but this March marks her first foray into government as she seeks election for the At-Large Seat 2 in Tuesday’s Gainesville City Commission elections.
She hopes to bring the skills she has gained selling homes to local government, particularly the ability to bring in experts on the city’s more technical problems.
Warren’s platform seeks to make Gainesville a city that encourages sustainable growth, energy-efficiency and job creation. She said she hopes to encourage Gainesville Regional Utilities to help residents find ways to lower their utility bills with energy-efficient measures.
This is part of Warren’s goal to plan for intelligent growth within the city, which includes improved bus routes, more walkable areas and multiple-use roadways.
“Growth is going to happen,” she said. “We need to put our services into place for the growing population.”
As the former president of the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, an environmental nonprofit, Warren said she made many friends and supporters, including Stacie Greco.
Greco, an environmental professional, bought a home through Warren before becoming an avid supporter.
Greco said she believes Warren’s skills as a creative problem-solver and communicator will help her in political office.
“She finds common ground and brings people together,” she said. “We need someone who can work with others, not cause more conflict.”
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 3/10/2014]