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

Sassyfrass, a male western cougar, yawns as she wakes up from her evening nap. Kept in a tiny backyard cage, his original owner beat him with a shovel, leaving him afraid of humans.

Big Cat Rescue Works To Pass Protection Act

One of the largest accredited wildlife sanctuaries, Big Cat Rescue, want to end private possession and breeding of big cats by November. To reach their goal, the sanctuary and a partnered coalition are pushing to get the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” passed.


Thousands Sign Initiative To Get Florida Marijuana On 2016 Ballot

United For Care has turned in about 100,000 out of 683,149 validated signatures needed to put the Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions bill on the 2016 ballot. So far, Marion, Levy and Alachua counties have not yet received any signatures, according to the supervisor of elections offices in these counties.


Feds Take Aim at Scott ‘LIP’ Lawsuit

Federal officials filed documents Monday responding to a lawsuit by Gov. Rick Scott. The suit says the federal government “engaged in unconstitutional coercion” to make Florida expand its Medicaid program, while federal officials say this is a baseless claim.


Florida Advances To Online Voting Registration

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that would implement an online voter registration system for Florida. The system is planned to be in place by 2017.


Lopez-Cantera ‘Strongly Considering’ Senate Bid

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera publicly confirmed Saturday that he is considering running for U.S. Senate in 2016. He announced his possible candidacy at the executive board meeting during the Republican Party of Florida’s quarterly meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.


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