WUFT News

Profile: Craig Lowe

By on March 6th, 2013


Leah Harding contributed audio reporting.

craig loweQuality of life.

Continued economic development.

Asserting the city’s character.

These are the three pillars that Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe has built his reelection campaign with as voters prepare to enter the polls March 19.

Lowe was elected mayor in a close 2010 race. The 55-year-old Democrat previously served as a city commissioner.

During his first term as mayor, the city became more attractive for new businesses and branches, spurring new jobs and economic growth, the mayor said in an interview. He thinks his opponents would turn from that progress.

“It would not be in the character of our city to take away those basic attributes,” Lowe said. “There is no time to turn back now and retreat on any of those aspects.”

He spoke of the city’s economic growth in his January State of the City address. He used Silver Airlines’ move to Gainesville Regional Airport as an example, saying the airline brought 100 new jobs with average yearly salaries of more than $50,000.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott praised the city for becoming home to several technology companies. He called Gainesville the new Silicon Valley during an October visit.

With another term, the mayor said he’ll continue improving quality through environmental protection, public safety and the encouragement of the local arts.

Lowe, the city’s first openly gay mayor, also said he wants to ensure equal opportunity for people to contribute to the city, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or nationality.

The strong sense of community, beautiful natural environment and vibrant cultural scene are all part of Gainesville’s character, Lowe said.

He said his greatest accomplishment as mayor has been bringing the city to the world stage.

In February, Gainesville finalized a partnership with Rzeszow, Poland, as sister cities that will share information and aid each other.

Last year, a Gainesville branch opened for Mindtree Limited, an information technology company headquartered in Bangalore, India.

The city received unwanted international attention in 2011 when Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center church burned a Quran, inciting violence in Afghanistan. The church protested Lowe’s previous election campaign, putting up a sign against electing a gay mayor.

Lowe, who called the church a “small group on the edge of town,” thinks the city has overcome the church’s negative international attention.

“We had the opportunity there to actually assert Gainesville’s true character to the world in the face of this challenge,” he said. “We did so successfully.”

During this campaign, Lowe has led the other candidates in fundraising, raising $25,205 and spending $20,408, according to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections.

During the election, Lowe’s five opponents have criticized his programs’ costs and overall direction.

Braddy, a former city commissioner, criticizes what he calls the mayor’s “expensive vision” and “poor leadership” in a Sun opinion column.

He wrote the biomass plant under construction is costly, and the accompanying contract may recklessly raise energy rates.

The mayor said his projects are worthwhile for improving Gainesville’s well-being, which would be his central pursuit if reelected.


This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Politics

W._Keith_Perry1

Rep. Perry Confirms GRU Governance Bill Is Dead

Rep. Keith Perry confirmed that a bill which would have allowed voters to establish a HB-1325 has died in the Florida House of Representatives. The hearing of HB 1325, was postponed during the last meeting of the Regulatory Affairs Committee.


Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Rubio Announces Presidential Bid In Miami To Mixed Local Response

On Monday, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio announced his bid for presidency in 2016. The event at Freedom Tower in Miami was attended by eager supporters as well as peaceful protestors.


Hemp has a wide variety of commercial uses, including food, cosmetics, paper and bio-fuel. It can be grown organically year-round, and has few weed or insect enemies. Garrett Mastronardi / WUFT News

Florida Lawmakers Set Sights On Industrial Hemp Production

The bill would allow farmers to use a strain of cannabis as a cash crop that would be used to produce industrial items, like textiles. The strains would have much lower levels of THC than those used for medical or recreational purposes. If passed, the law would take effect on July 1.


Run-Off Elections

Gainesville City Commission Run-Offs End In Goston, Budd Victories

Charles Goston and Harvey Budd won their Gainesville City Commission seats after Tuesday’s run-off elections. Goston took the District 1 seat, and Budd won the at-large seat.


Putnam County has more dirt road miles than any other county in the state of Florida, according to Chris Evers, the past president of the American Public Works Association. Photo by WUFT.

Controversy Surrounds Better Place Plan Renewal in Putnam County

Putnam County residents will be able to vote on the renewal of the Better Place Plan on April 7. However, the wording of the renewal plan has some residents questioning the transparency of the commission and how the changes will affect the county.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments