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

A monitor designed to alert motorists of their exact speed is turned off in Waldo, Florida on September 3. Waldo Police Department is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement after the former Police Chief was accused of establishing illegal ticket quotas for officers.

Florida Legislature Passes “Waldo Bill” To Outlaw Ticket Quotas

Traffic ticket quotas for law enforcement agencies are now illegal under a bill unanimously passed by the House in the Florida Legislature. Sent to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday, the “Waldo Bill” got its nickname from the city of Waldo, which was once considered one of the nation’s worst speed traps.


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.


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