Marlon Bruce loves to sing.
On some nights you can find Bruce, 20, belting karaoke downtown, picking his next song based on the mood of the crowd.
“If it’s a really young group, then I might whip out some Ariana Grande or Lady Gaga because I love laughs,” Bruce said. “If not, I will probably go with Queen – I do love Queen.”
Bruce started singing in Gainesville two years ago when he moved from Ocala to go to Santa Fe College.
After a few months, he fell in love with the city. He fell so hard, he decided to run for mayor to try to make it a better place, he said.
“The problems we have are not going to wait for everyone to grow up,” Bruce said.
As mayor, Bruce wants to help provide affordable housing, lower Gainesville Regional Utilities rates and help fix roads and infrastructure.
Bruce received $25 in monetary donations since he announced running in January, according to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections office.
At Santa Fe College, Bruce said he joined Model United Nations, Young Americans for Liberty and Global Society. He joined Santa Fe Student Government as a senator and attorney general but stopped last Fall after he was accused of violating the group’s rules.
Last Summer, Bruce began the semester active in Student Government and enrolled in classes as a Santa Fe student. Halfway through the semester, Bruce dropped his classes but continued with SG.
Leaders in the club said Bruce knowingly violated the rules and asked for him to be removed from the organization. Bruce quit from his positions in the Fall.
“My intention wasn’t anything bad. My intention was just to serve the Student Body,” Bruce said.
Even with the issues with SG, Bruce stayed friends with Antoneik Evans, 21, Santa Fe Student Body vice president, who first met Bruce when they ran against each other in the 2018 Sante Fe SG presidential elections.
Despite the rivalry, she said they became good friends. She said when she’s with Bruce they mostly talk about politics, and he’s always interested in having a debate.
“He’s willing to take the extra mile through what he knows, through his intelligence, to make sure things are changed, ” Evans said.
Bruce said even if he doesn’t win, he hopes at least more people, especially students, will vote because local government is important.
“While I do plan on winning, if I lose that’s OK, too, because then I know that people still heard me,” he said.”
Marlon Bruce. Courtesy to The Alligator