City Commission candidates bring diversity to elections

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)- For the first time in more than 20 years, three black women will be running against two incumbents for their City Commission seats.

Two of these women will be challenging the current incumbent for the district one seat.

The other woman will be going against the incumbent for the At-Large Seat.

"This is great this is wonderful. It's needed. I think this is inspirational. It's motivating and I'm just so honored to be a among some beautiful black women that's taking a difference in our community,” Gigi Simmons said.

Simmons is just one of three women of color running for Gainesville City Commission.

He says she's running for election to help bring diversity to the board as she and Tyra “Loudd" Edwards run for Charles Goston's current District 1 seat.

"My experience speaks for itself, my dedication for so many years speaks for itself. My commitment to you know, serving the people speaks for itself and thats why I'm the best candidate,” Goston said.

Goston also says he isn't worried about running against two women of color because he knows he is qualified for the position.

Gail Johnson, the candidate for the at Large Seat 1 wants to bring all races and communities together.

"I've made minimum wage, I've also been the employer and I've employed people at a living wage. So I've seen the deep and the breadth of what it means to live in Gainesville,” she said.

Her opponent, incumbent Harvey Budd says it's important to have all types of diversity on the board.

"Number one, I'm an immigrant. Number two i'm the third Jewish commissioner. And number three which is kind of the most important, I'm seventy years old. Now, how many people on the commission represent the seniors?” Harvey Budd said.

We also reached out to Tyra "Loudd" Edwards the third candidate running for the District 1 seat.

She was not able to attend the forum because she wasn't feeling well.

Her spokesperson says Edwards feels great to be a part of this election.

She also says she feels there are strong candidates who all run their race gracefully.