Gainesville mayoral and district 4 candidates face-off for local endorsement

GAINESVILLE, Fla., ( WCJB) ---- Gainesville Mayoral and City Commission District 4 candidates gathered at the Thomas Coward Auditorium for a forum held by the 4A's PAC for the African American Accountability Alliance.

This was one of several forums for the candidates as they went toe to toe to score an endorsement. They stood before a crowd as topics such as economic development, equal opportunity, and east Gainesville were discussed. Each candidate shared what topic is most important to them.

"So the one issue I guess is mainly the east side of Gainesville. Like I stated I've been here my whole life, born and raised. The east side of Gainesville looks the same as it did 34 years ago," stated Jennifer Reid, a mayoral candidate.

At 20, Marlon Bruce is the youngest of all mayoral candidates and stated that he's not asking for anything radical just something bold.

"I'm looking to change the culture of Gainesville and the city commission as a whole. More financial responsibility and less spending, and less development for development sake," stated Bruce.

Jenn Powell walked away with the 4A's endorsement for the mayoral candidates and said that equal opportunity is a top issue.

"Closing the income gap and if turned that can help a lot of things like affordable housing, I served on the affordable housing board and what I've learned from that service is that it's not working," stated Powell.

Current Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe is seeking a second term.

"We need to continue working on closing our equity gaps, housing equity, transportation equity, healthcare equity, educational outcomes. We have a great city commission right now, we've made great progress and we just want to continue that momentum," stated Poe.

As for the district 4 candidates, Robert Mounts feels his expertise will create change, but it was incumbent Adrian Hayes-Santos that landed the endorsement.

"My mission is to continue my community work representing neighborhoods across the city, like we did with GNV rise but fundamentally with my background, 45 years of public service, couple years working for Reubin Askew. I'm the one with the expertise from training and working with contracts and international agreements," stated Mounts.

"I want to continue addressing the equity issues we have in our community, investing in our great parks and neighborhoods, protecting our environment and also working to make sure that we have affordable high-speed internet for everyone in our community," stated Hayes-Santos.

Tuesday is the last day to register to vote for Gainesville's Regular election. You can register online or in person at the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office.