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Gainesville City Commission At-Large Seat 1 Candidates On Political Policy And City Plans

Adrian Hayes-Santos

Adrian Hayes-Santos grew up in Gainesville and attended the University of Florida where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance, a minor in urban planning and masters in international business.

He has served on the city beautification board, city transit board, Community redevelopment advisory board. He's volunteered as a youth sports coach as well as a youth counselor for children with diabetes.

Hayes-Santos says he is running for this seat to ensure that the people of Gainesville have a high quality of life. He said he can achieve that by running the government more efficiently.

“I want to make sure we put (the city’s) money back into the city.”

Hayes-Santos feels strongly about lowering Gainesville Regional Utilities rates. He says diversifying the way people get energy and improving homes's energy efficiency will allow residents to spend less on GRU.

He also wants to make sure Gainesville has funding for its roads and transportation. He says the city should treat everyone equally whether they are bicycling or walking and the roads should reflect that.

Last election a transportation sur-tax of one cent that would have gone toward transportation failed. Hayes-Santos says it should have passed, but people don’t trust the government to use their funds properly.

“We need to have accountability in our city," he said. "Accountability will help bring back that trust.”

He wants to restore that trust by creating easier communication with the local government. He suggests making a phone application which would allow people to make requests on things such as road maintenance.

Hayes-Santos encourages an innovation economy in Gainesville. He wants to foster jobs at all levels to diversify the economy so that jobs aren’t restricted to colleges and hospitals. He says entrepreneurship will create different opportunities ranging from trade jobs to service jobs.

He suggests another way of bringing in jobs is to provide more affordable high-speed gigabit broadband internet access to all parts of Gainesville.

“We can’t leave people out of our changing economies just because they live in a certain part of the city.”

Find out more about Adrian Hayes-Santos on his website.

Jay Curtis

Jay Curtis was born in Orlando and has lived in Gainesville for over 15 years. Curtis said he is running “to make Gainesville the greatest place to live in America.”

He believes in a balanced approach between job creation and protecting the environment.

Curtis is a small business owner with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s degree in aviation. He is also a member of the UF Performing Arts Advisory Board of Directors.

Although he has no experience in politics, Curtis said he plans on making up for it in analytical skills.

“When you vote for commissioner, you’re voting for a manager of your city," he said. "You are hiring somebody to get in there and make good decisions for you, as the citizen, to run your city.”

Curtis said his main priority is to create an economy that works with everyone. He said he plans to diversify job opportunities and develop living-wage jobs at every level. He hopes to break the cycle of unemployment.

“I want to create jobs for everyone, encourage people to start businesses in East Gainesville," Curtis said. "There’s a program there that I want to work with that will incentivize people to break the cycle of unemployment."

Curtis said he wants to focus on cleaning the environment, specifically the springs and parks in Gainesville.

Lowering utility rates and improving city-wide transportation are Curtis’ other two priorities. He said he wants to focus on keeping roads in working order and providing cost-effective energy for the community.

More information about Jay Curtis can be found on his website.

Harvey Budd

Harvey Budd has lived in Gainesville for around 50 years. He is currently the president and founder of Budd Broadcasting Company.

Budd has served on the City of Gainesville Plan Board and Cultural Commission and was chairman of the Alachua County Planning Commission for two years.

He believes his skill set makes him the best candidate for the seat.

“When I saw that there was kind of a change taking place in the city commission, I decided it was time to jump in, and see if I could bring my thoughts to bear,” Budd said.

His platform includes enhancing GRU governance, working to end poverty and increasing jobs. To fight poverty Budd said he will focus on finding those who do not have much job training and help develop their skills.

“What we really want is we don’t want to leave any student behind who doesn’t have a job skill or talent and something by the time he gets to be 16 or 18 years old,” Budd said. “It’s a tragedy that somebody would drop out of school or finish school and have nothing to show for it.”

To increase job opportunities, he said he wants to bring in more businesses and development to the city.

Budd said he has the most experience involving job creation and fundraising. As a former certified public accountant he brought Wendy’s to Gainesville and helped his clients get loans from banks.

He also wants to make transportation friendlier for the community outside of the University of Florida campus. Budd says his goal is to give back to the community and improve the quality of life in Gainesville.

Budd said he is confident in his ability to do so.

“I’ve always had success, and when you have success, you want to give back.”

More information on Harvey Budd can be found at his campaign Facebook page.

Donald Shepherd

Self-proclaimed people’s representative Donald Shepherd is again running for city commission At-Large Seat 1.

If elected, Shepherd’s main goals include creating jobs, increasing wages, higher pay for teachers and finding a way to create revenue without taxation.

Shepherd is very passionate about education in Gainesville. He said he wants to make sure that teachers in the area are given enough money to buy supplies for their classrooms. He said he does not think teachers should have to pay for supplies out of pocket.

Shepherd said what sets him from his competitors is his love for Gainesville residents and his dedication to the city.

“My heart is behind the people, they are my first heartfelt goal in running for City Commissioner At-Large," he said. “I have been to every city council meeting, that is something none of the other candidates can say.

This is Shepherd’s fourth time running for city commission. If not elected this time, he says he plans to run again in the future.

 Zoe Haugen, Daniel Gillman, Sara Girard, Kara Roberts and Olivia Courtney contributed to this report. 

Samantha is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org