Jenn Powell wasn’t thinking about politics four years ago. She wanted to travel the country after raising her three children.
Then she got pregnant, and her youngest daughter, Norah, completely changed her life.
For the first time, Powell, 40, was home spending time with her family, she said. She was exercising and living a healthier life.
“She changed everything,” Powell said. “I realized the older kids might be able to fend for themselves, but if we didn’t change things soon, there will be nothing left for Norah. She was the driving force to getting involved in politics.”
Now, Powell is running for mayor to give a voice to everyday families like her own.
She said there needs to be change in the way the city is run. Specifically, she doesn’t think the conversation on city changes involves the community enough. She wants to find ways to create solutions that the community wants.
“If they want a fighter who’s going to make it her sole purpose to make a difference and change the direction the city’s headed, then I’m the candidate,” Powell said.
Powell also believes the city’s budget is not being used effectively. The first thing she will do in office is to go line by line in the budget to find where cuts can be made to find money to make Gainesville a more affordable place to live.
One way she said she would make the city more affordable is to start moving toward a living wage for residents, she said.
She said she will be personally combating the misuse of the budget by accepting the lowest paid city employee salary if she is elected mayor.
“If it’s good enough for a bus driver, it’s good enough for the mayor,” Powell said.
Powell received $5,428 in monetary donations since she announced her campaign in December, according to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office.
Fighting for a living wage was one of the reasons she filed to run against Helen Warren in the 2017 commission election, losing by 9.3 percent.
Her second oldest daughter Brevyn Richey, 20, got to cast her first vote that year, and she got to vote for her mother.
Richey said her mother understand where community members come from.
“We lived on every single side of town throughout my whole life,” Richey said. “She has all the different experiences and understands the true heart of Gainesville and the people living here.”