Bonnie Mott knows what it takes

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Bonnie Mott, a 45-year-old Gainesville native, said she knows how to make difficult decisions and stand by them.

That's one thing she learned from her battle with breast cancer in 1998, and that life lesson was reaffirmed when she suddenly found herself a widow two years ago.

"Going through breast cancer, going through being a widow, I know what it takes to make change immediately," Mott said.

Both of those qualities are essential for a community leader, she said.

Mott is running for the City Commission Seat in District 2, a position elected by the northwest portion of Gainesville. That seat is now held by Ed Braddy, who isn't eligible for re-election due to term limits.

Mott's competition includes Lauren Poe, a professor at Santa Fe Community College, and Bryan Harman, formerly in marketing for an assisted living company. Mott's interest in politics and civil service began as a student at Gainesville High School when one of her teachers encouraged students to attend School Board meetings for extra credit.

A school trip to Tallahassee and experience on former congressman Buddy McKay's campaign sealed her interest.

"What I enjoy about it was seeing the progress, seeing how it all works and seeing their heart in there for the better good," Mott said.

"It's a daunting task to take on that responsibility. I have time in my life now to serve."

As for her top three agenda items, Mott said they focus around the central issue of preserving the quality of life in Gainesville.

"Obviously, affordable housing is important to me. Somehow, for our citizens, we need to do something to help them," she said.

"A single firefighter, teacher or policeman, there's a good chance they cannot afford a home," she said.

Mott, a Republican, also said utility rates have become a burden for families in Gainesville.

"People are concerned with the new power plant. We need to make sure that it is done economically and it needs to be environmentally clean."

And her third goal is to promote economic development to increase the number of high-paying jobs.

"We need to work with our Chamber (of Commerce) in trying to recruit some of these jobs," Mott said.

As for questions that her long career in the real estate market would make her beholden to developers' wishes, Mott said she doesn't know what she can do to convince people otherwise.

"I've been in real estate for 31 years. The people that know me know I always do the right thing. What would it say about me if they didn't support me?"

Mott's campaign is being run by four generations of family including herself, her father in-law, her children and her grandchildren.

The most challenging part of the campaign, Mott said, has been putting herself out there in public.

"If you're raised in the South as a female, you are taught not to brag," she said.

Megan Rolland can be reached at 338-3104 or megan.rolland@

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