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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Gainesville City Commissioner launches campaign for mayor

If elected, David Arreola would be the first Mexican-American Gainesville mayor



City Commissioner David Arreola, 30, announced his candidacy for Gainesville mayor Wednesday.

Gainesville is holding its City Commission election for the mayor at-large seat and districts two, three and four on Aug. 23, 2022. 

The current mayor, Lauren Poe, has served the city in the position since 2016, so he can’t run for re-election due to Gainesville’s two-consecutive-term limit.

Although the election is more than eight months away, Arreola said he wanted to get his message out early so voters have time to evaluate candidates.

His decision to run for mayor stems from his previous experience as commissioner. He wants to continue the work Gainesville is doing now, such as focusing on public transportation and racial equity.

“Gainesville is going to need new leadership,” Arreola said. “With my experience on the Commission, I believe that I would be one of the most qualified candidates to run.”

After two terms on the City Commission, Arreola said he would bring a fresh perspective as a son of immigrants. As a millennial himself, he said he’s working to ensure his campaign staff includes young people and students. 

Arreola said his campaign will be community-driven with a focus on issues that affect all Gainesville residents. 

One top priority is to create stronger neighborhoods through the lens of racial equity through zoning changes, he said, which would divide city land along certain regulations. He also wants to focus on affordable housing, environmental conservation, local parks investments and local governments’ rights.

“Gainesville has really been at the forefront of a lot of these challenges,” Arreola said. “I just want to make sure that leadership continues here in Gainesville.”

Although he can’t run again this term, Poe said he hopes whoever takes over his job in the 2022 election continues the work the city’s doing now — focusing on issues like affordable housing, traffic on University Avenue and 13th Street, and land conservation. He said the future mayor should also prioritize increasing equity and continuing the city’s partnerships with organizations like UF.

“I really hope that the next group continues to take all of those things seriously…when they take their oath of office,” he said. Poe said he likely won’t endorse anyone in the election, and he hopes for a competitive race where candidates can share their ideas and visions for Gainesville.

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Because the 2022 election is in August, Poe also said he looks forward to seeing higher turnout as people who historically haven’t voted in previous city elections because of the timing.

“More participation and a more diverse set of voters will lead to a really strong showing for our city commissioners,” he said. 

Contact Meghan at Follow her on Twitter @meggmcglone.

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Meghan McGlone

Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in journalism and English, and this year she’s the City and County Commission reporter. In past years, she’s served as the University Editor, the Student Government reporter, and other positions. Her favorite past time is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.

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