Gainesville District 4 seat open for the first time in six years

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 6:52 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Having worked as an environmental scientist, a teacher, and business owner, candidate Christian Newman feels he has the experience to build a stronger Gainesville.

One of his biggest goals is addressing high utility rates.

“So the future is electrification,” said Newman. “Basically making it so that all of our community is gonna be able to plug their cars into the grid. That’s not something that can happen overnight.”

In the short-term, Newman plans to advocate for reducing the GRU general fund transfer.

He said when it comes to the commission’s vote to end-single family zoning, “I’m gonna work with my city commissioners to try to reverse it... I’d been on the city plan board for four years and I’ve watched how the current city commission has made decisions and we are not engaging with our citizens.”

He feels the commission made a rash decision without considering the ramifications.

Meanwhile, candidate Bryan Eastman, an advocate for progressive change, said he wants to change GRU’s tiered rate system.

“We used to have a three tier system, we’ve gone down to two,” said Eastman. “What we know from the data is that lower-income people will really save a lot more money if we increase that amount so really look at where our tiers are and how much people are paying so we can really help our working-class residents the most.”

Similar to Newman, Eastman also opposes the commission’s vote to end single-family zoning.

“I want to make sure that we’re really thinking about each neighborhood and the unique characteristics they have within those neighborhoods,” he said.

Another issue he hopes to tackle is “this terrible rash of students getting hit on university and 13th, and people being hit on east Gainesville.”

To address that, he wants to add more bike lanes throughout the city.

The winner will replace Adrian Hayes-Santos, who is stepping down.

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