Mayor, commissioner sworn in at Thomas Center

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- Two candidates who were re-elected in this year's elections for the city of Gainesville held their swearing-in ceremony at the Thomas Center on Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Lauren Poe and District 4 Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos will each serve 3 1/2 years for their terms and they both plan on bringing economic and social justice to the city.

“As an aware citizen of the community, it's important for us to come out and see who these people are that we've elected whether you worked on a campaign or not they now represent all of us,” Gainesville citizen Susan Cary said.

Dozens of people attended the swearing-in ceremony for Mayor Lauren Poe and District 4 Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos.

“It's certainly a day for celebration but also a day to remind us why we're here,” Poe said.

The Reichert House Color Guard opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance. Poe and Hayes Santos took their oath of office as the Alachua County Court Judge Meson Rawls read the oath.

“I'm excited about the opportunities we have before us in our city to address the issues that we have to make Gainesville a better city for everyone who lives here,” Hayes-Santos said.

During their speeches, Poe and Hayes-Santos addressed the need for criminal justice reform in the city.

“One of my top priorities is getting divergent and deflections programs in place so we can divert people from going to jail or even being arrested in the first place,” Poe said.

"If you have other issues, let's get the help you need,” Hayes-Santos said. “Sending someone to prison, you're a lost cause once it happens. We need to keep people out of prison and help them get them back on their feet."

Issues like internet access, food deserts, and affordable housing were also addressed.

Poe and Hayes-Santos hope their terms bring lasting change to the city.

“Equity is a systemic challenge,” Poe said. “There's so many different pieces of that and we're just going to try to get all of those pieces working in the same order."

"We have an amazing city but we have issues that we need to address and we have a community that is ready to work towards transformational issues,” Hayes-Santos said.

During the ceremony, the city commission elected District 2 Commissioner Harvey Ward as the Mayor-Commissioner Pro Tem for the 2019-2020 term.