WUFT News

Profile: Mark Venzke

By on March 8th, 2013


Leah Harding contributed audio reporting.

Mark VenzkeMark Venzke’s résumé already includes antique tourist railway conductor, landscape architect and cab driver.

He’s hoping to add Gainesville mayor to the list.

As a self-described fiscally conservative centrist, Venzke believes that he can “suit the political taste of a broad range of people.” He is running in the public’s interest, he said, without the support of any interest groups.

His campaign is centered around a responsible energy policy, revitalizing trade and service sectors and a more open governance.

If elected, Venzke said he would work to renegotiate the biomass contract, which he believes is one-sided. He wants a plan that would purchase the minimum amount of energy from the biomass plant.  He would spend the rest of taxpayers’ dollars on renewable energy sources.

“We can’t just let (the biomass contract) go and see where it’s going to take us,” he said, “because it has the potential. . . to be financially devastating to our city and to its citizens.”

Venzke also wants to take the mentality of Gainesville’s burgeoning innovation community and apply it to trade and service industries. He would build education and training centers to help more people launch business careers.

He considers himself a part of the innovation community and participated in Gainesville Startup Weekend last September.

Venzke, who frequently attends lectures at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, said he also wants to bring more intellectualism to city government.

“I have a strong respect for knowledge and information gained systematically through the social science and political sciences,” he said.

He has felt a calling to public service since his young adulthood. A year ago, he ran for Gainesville city commissioner and received a little more than 1 percent of the vote, according to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections.

Before moving to Gainesville, he worked on political projects ranging from environmental activism to Ross Perot’s 1996 presidential campaign.

Venzke has lived in Gainesville for most of the past decade. In that time, five of his bicycles have been stolen. After he was attacked in his Near South neighborhood in 2011, Venzke has worked to revitalize the area, from cleaning up trash to sending out neighborhood newsletters.

Ten years from now, he hopes that Gainesville will be “a place of great opportunity for those across the socioeconomic and education spectrum.”


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

More Stories in Politics

Trial Date Set For ACLU, Lake County School’s Gay-Straight Alliance Case

May 2 has been set as the trial date for a lawsuit challenging the Lake County School Board’s refusal to allow students at Carver Middle School in Leesburg, Florida, to form a gay-straight alliance. ACLU attorney Daniel Tiller said they are appealing based on the First Amendment and Equal Access Act.


DSC_0319

Scott Plans To Reduce Standardized Testing Statewide

An executive action to be issued by Governor Scott would reduce the number of tests Florida students are required to take. Subsequent legislation would eliminate progress-monitoring requirements, make certain exams optional and reassess how to evaluate teachers in public schools.


About 300 Amendment 1 supporters and environmentalists gathered in Tallahassee to rally for conservation spending. The crowd later separated into regional groups to talk to their representatives about the bill.

Environmental Groups ‘Rally In Tally’ To Talk Amendment 1 Spending

Environmental groups across the state sent supporters to the capital on Wednesday to discuss the allocation of funds set aside by Amendment 1, the Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative. The Florida legislative session will begin in March, and the bill will take effect on July 1.


District 1 Commission Seat candidates discuss ways transportation between the East and West sides of Gainesville can be improved.

Gainesville City Commission Candidates Discuss Transportation Improvements

Finding a way around Gainesville can be difficult with limited buses and dangerous bike lanes, but City Commission candidates offer similar solutions to improve transportation issues. Yet a public forum revealed they do not agree on how to pay for the changes.


LB Hannahs, co-founder of Gainesville Equality Youth, works on various tasks regarding LGBT-specific projects in Gainesville, Florida. Hannahs strives to provide an open space for LGBT minors, especially those who have undergone conversion therapy. Photo by Damian Gonzalez.

Concerns Over LGBT Youth Suicide Spur Anti-Conversion Therapy Bills

A bill recently introduced in the Florida House of Representatives could ban the use of conversion therapy, a practice used to change sexual orientation or gender identity, on LGBT minors in Florida.


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
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments