Even though she grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville will always be her home.
Susan Bottcher, the District 3 city commissioner, has lived in Gainesville since she was a UF student. After serving almost a full three-year term as a commissioner, Bottcher is running for a second term.
Bottcher said she didn’t plan to get involved in city politics, but as she wove together a life in Gainesville, it naturally developed with community volunteering. Then, her small scale involvement grew in the political direction.
“After a while, when the District 3 Seat came open, people sat me down, and they said ‘You’re a good fit for the district, you know the district — you need to run for this seat,’” she said.
As a UF alumna, Bottcher emphasizes the importance of student involvement. Her first campaign was run almost entirely by UF students.
“There are people in Gainesville who believe that students are part-timers,” she said. “That has not been my experience. To me (UF students) are some of the most intelligent, motivated individuals I have ever encountered.”
The biggest issue Bottcher hopes to correct is growing Gainesville’s property tax base. About 60 percent of property in Gainesville is associated with UF, Santa Fe and churches, and those entities do not pay property taxes, Bottcher said.
“That means we have to do a whole lot with an extraordinarily small revenue,” she said.
Nath Doughtie said he’s noticed the commissioner always provides logical rationale for her suggested policies.
“I might not always agree with her vote, but she always comes up with a good reason for her position,” he said.
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 3/10/2014]