The at-large and District 1 candidates for Gainesville City Commission talked about their platforms on campus Friday.
The UF College Democrats hosted the two-hour panel in Pugh Hall for the candidates to speak. About 40 people attended the event.
At-large candidates represent the city as a whole rather than individual districts. These candidates are Harvey Budd, Jay Curtis, Adrian Hayes-Santos and Donald Shepherd Sr.
District 1, the largest of the four districts in Gainesville, spans parts east of campus and northeast Gainesville. These candidates are Charles Edward Goston, Scherwin Henry, Yvonne Hinson-Rawls, Lucas Jewell and Chris Weaver.
At-large candidates spoke first, starting with Curtis, a husband and father of two who has lived in Gainesville for more than 15 years.
Curtis said he wants to create more jobs and lower GRU rates. He also said he wants to invest in accessible transportation for the city and protect the environment.
GRU rates were a common theme among candidates’ platforms, with at-large candidate Budd and District 1 candidates Jewell and Weaver also aiming to lower rates.
Weaver said he is the only candidate with the financial background and political strategy necessary to cut down the rates, which he said are some of the highest in the state.
Hayes-Santos, a UF alumnus, said he wishes to create more jobs by introducing an innovation-based economy utilizing the city’s technological and entrepreneurial resources.
Xiahan Tang, a 22-year-old UF statistics senior, said he liked all the at-large candidates except for Sheperd because of his political affiliation with the Republican party.
“I feel they know the topics very well,” he said, adding that he thinks they have good ideas to improve Gainesville. But he has not decided who to vote for.
Shepherd and Hinson-Rawls both said they want to address wages.
Goston said he’s running to increase the quality of life for the residents of east Gainesville who have been left behind.
Henry said he will work with fair grounds and the airport area to increase the economy.
On Tuesday, UF College Democrats will vote to endorse one candidate. College Democrat President Amir Ahmadiavin said the organization will then work with and endorse the nominated candidate.
[A version of this story ran on page 5 on 2/9/2015 under the headline “City commission candidates discuss GRU rates, other platforms"]
From left: Scherwin Henry, Lucas Jewell and Chris Weaver, all candidates for city commissioner for District 1, speak to an audience at an open forum event hosted by UF College Democrats in Pugh Hall on Friday night.