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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Vote Alachua
Vote Alachua

Alachua County Commission

District 1

A few facts about Mary Alford:

Alford won Tuesday’s primary election for the District 1 seat of the Alachua County Commission. She got 65.77 percent of the votes, which totaled to 24,737 votes. Here are some facts to know about the Democratic candidate.

Bio: Alford, a 59-year-old environmental engineer, was born and raised in Alachua County. A UF graduate, she has been involved in local politics for the past 10 years. During that time, she served on the Alachua County Environmental Protection Advisory Committee, Gainesville’s Utility Advisory Board and the Alachua County Code Enforcement Board.

Key issues:

-Focus on equitable environmental sustainability

-Advocate against the development of a new county administration complex

-Use the funding for the complex to fund road repairs in the county

-Conduct a study into racial and gender inequity in hiring, service distribution and contracts to local businesses

What’s next?

Alford spent election night eating dinner at her son's house. She said she was keeping track of the number of ballots left to count as the results rolled in to see if her lead was real.

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“I am humbled that so many people have placed their trust and confidence in me for the future of Alachua County,” she said.

Alford will face off against Republican candidate Raemi Eagle-Glenn in this November's general election. Eagle-Glenn, a local attorney, filed a court complaint against the county commission in July centered around its face mask ordinance. She is also the county's Republican state committeewoman.

Alachua County Commission

District 3

A few facts about Anna Prizzia:

Prizzia won Tuesday’s primary election for Alachua County Commission. She got 49.12 percent of the votes, which totaled to 18,402 votes. Here are some facts to know about the Democratic candidate.

Bio: Prizzia, the 43-year-old director of the UF Field and Fork Program, was born in northern Virginia. Aside from getting her master’s degree in wildlife ecology and conservation from UF and working at the university, she has also spent years doing volunteer work, from her time in the Peace Corps from 2004 to 2005, to her founding of Working Food, a local nonprofit that works to support Alachua County’s local food community.

Key issues:

-Create a unified intake center that would provide an alternative to jail for residents who are struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues

-Start a community development finance institution that provides financing to community members who don’t usually qualify for credit

-Expand the Alachua County Sheriff's Office co-responder program

What’s next?

Prizzia spent her evening in her home surrounded by her family and campaign manager. She said she was proud of the community's voter turnout for the primary, which was the highest turnout for a primary in more than 10 years. She said she will continue to stand by the issues she campaigned on regardless of the results of November’s general election.

“Whenever you think your vote doesn't matter, turn and take a moment to look at this election, and I think you will see that it does,” she said.

Prizzia will face off against Republican candidate Joy Glanzer in this November's general election. A county resident for more than 47 years, Glanzer was a Newberry City Commissioner from 2017 to 2019. She is also the broker owner of Glanzer Realty in Newberry.

Alachua County School Board

District 2

A few facts about Diyonne McGraw:

McGraw won Tuesday’s election for the Alachua County School Board. She got 52.36 percent of the vote, which totaled to 30,151 votes. Here are some facts to know about the public servant now serving District 2.

Bio: McGraw, a 51-year-old from Memphis, Tennessee, has been an advocate for students in Gainesville since 1992. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University where she received her bachelor’s degree in business and master’s degree in education. She is a realtor as well as the owner of Successful Learning II, a place for disabled teens and adults to continue to learn, she said..

Key issues:

-Work toward closing the district’s achievement gap

-Improve reading comprehension and learning for students at a younger age

-Help students find personalized pathways to success

-Look at ways to make reopening schools safer

What’s next?

To McGraw, her win symbolizes a historic moment for Alachua County Public Schools because it’s the first time three African American women will serve together on the school board. With their distinctive perspectives and qualifications, she said that the board will be able to do what’s best for families, teachers and employees within the school system.

“I am so humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support, McGraw said. “We ran a heck of a race, and I am so excited for our future.”

McGraw will serve on the Alachua County School Board for the next four years.

Alachua County School Board

District 4

A few facts about Leanetta McNealy:

McNealy was reelected for her seat as an Alachua County School Board representative for District 4. She got 61.06 percent of the vote, which totaled to 34,762 votes. Here are some facts to know about McNealy.

Bio: Leanetta McNealy, a 71-year-old former educator, curriculum specialist and principal, worked for Alachua County Public Schools for 38 years. After attending Florida A&M University for her bachelor’s degree, she went on to get her master’s degree from UF and her Ph.D. from Florida A&M University — all in education. She has been an Alachua County School Board member since 2012 and served as vice chair in her most recent term.

Key issues:

-Close the county’s achievement gap

-Improve the physical learning environment

-Improve graduation rates

-Advocate for art and technology in schools

What’s next?

Leanetta McNealy will continue to serve on the school board until the end of her term in four years. She said she hopes to make a difference in the preparation for the reopening of schools on Aug. 31.

“There is so much to be done, but this win came as a relief,” McNealy said. “I’m excited to continue to serve this wonderful community.”

Along with ACPS Superintendent Karen Clarke, McNealy said she will meet with custodians Wednesday to discuss safety and cleaning for schools’ reopening.

Alachua County Property Appraiser

A few facts about Ayesha Solomon:

Solomon won Tuesday’s election for Alachua County Property Appraiser. She got 48.75 percent of the vote, which totaled to 18,207 votes. Here are some facts to know about Solomon.

Bio: Ayesha Solomon, a 41-year-old administrative manager at the county property appraiser’s office, was born and raised in East Gainesville. Solomon became the first person in her family to graduate college when she earned a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and a master’s degree in business administration Saint Leo University. She has worked for the Alachua County Property Appraiser’s office since 2001, working her way from a customer service staff member to the administrative manager.

Key issues:

-Enhance community outreach

-Embrace new, innovative technology, such as drones

-Educate the community on the role of the property appraiser by using local libraries in underserved communities

-Hone in on homestead exemption fraud and personal property fraud

-Maintain stability and transparency

What’s next?

Solomon said she plans to update technology and educate the community in order to serve every member of Alachua County and establish a fair property tax.

“It [winning the election] will be life changing,” she said. “Only because it will give me the opportunity to actually go into underserved communities.”

Equipped with her mask, Solomon watched the results roll in with coworkers, family and friends at Grub Kitchen & Bar on Archer Road. Solomon said she wasn’t anxious until she received a phone call around 6:30 p.m. from her campaign manager about the first round of results. Then, she said the nerves started flooding in.

While the next few months will entail making preparations for November, Solomon said she focused on celebration Tuesday.

Solomon will continue her candidacy in the November general election as the Democratic candidate running against the non-party affiliated write-in candidate Glen Tyler Foerst, who is a Newberry resident.

“We’re just trying to keep the energy up as the numbers come through,” she said. “I’m trying to breathe through the mask and swallow up all of these emotions.”

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