Q & A: Yvonne Hinson-Rawls

Published: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 5:34 p.m.

Candidates were asked to keep their responses to 100 words or less.


Yvonne Hinson-Rawls



Age: 64
Birthplace: Gainesville
Occupation: Retired educator (principal at Robert Russa Moton Elementary School, Miami, and teacher at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, Decatur, Ga.) and small-business owner (Childstart Learning Solutions LLC)
Education: Master of education, University of Florida (1972); bachelor's degree, education, UF (1971)
Political offices: Gainesville Housing Authority commissioner (2011-present; appointed by Mayor Craig Lowe)
Past elections: None
Party affiliation: Democrat
Community involvement: Gospel choir, witness ministry, finance committee and harvest ministry, Mount Pleasant United Methodist
Family: Husband, Ronald Rawls Sr., children Kamelya Hinson, Ivan Hinson, Ron Rawls Jr., Katrina Rawls Hernandez, Joseph Rawls and Rawlisa Rawls
Contact: 352-264-7853, yvonne4gainesville@yahoo.com or yvonne@yvonnehinsonrawls.com;
On the Web: website | Facebook

1. What are the biggest issues the city faces, and how would you as a commissioner solve them?

The number one issue facing Gainesville is making sure our residents can put food on the table. We must focus on job training and apprenticeship programs to train residents in the skills to match jobs in Gainesville. As a former principal, I have competently managed multimillion-dollar budgets while helping to rebuild low-income communities. District 1 can't afford to keep electing hand-picked candidates who have no experience overseeing budgets. If elected, I will be a different leader. A leader that will fight for my residents and work to turn our problems around.

2. The city is projecting a nearly $2 million shortfall for its two-year budget period ending in 2013. What initiatives should the commission put in place to raise revenues or cut expenses to make up the gap?

Having managed large budgets before, I am the most qualified candidate to make sure our budget is balanced. I have the knowledge and understanding necessary to make the city budget efficient and effective. As city commissioner, I will examine every facet of the budget to make sure that money is not being wasted. I will also look at ways to diversify our revenue so that we are not as dependent on property taxes that are susceptible to economic swings.

3. What are your thoughts on the city's 30-year contract to purchase biomass power?

Biomass will help bring jobs to Gainesville. As a city commissioner, I will fight to make sure costs to residents are minimized. However, the city must continue to diversify our energy options to lower utilities costs for residents both now and in the future. Gainesville has an opportunity to become a leader in alternative energy. I also believe there must be a systematic approach to educating residents about how to maximize efficient use of their energy to bring costs down now and in the future.

4. Do you support making changes to employee pension plans? Explain.

I think there must be a conversation, and that conversation must include representatives from all those invested in the process. A delicate balance must be struck between reducing the city's financial burden and guaranteeing our workers a pension plan that allows them to work hard and feel secure knowing their pension is well funded.

5. What steps, if any, can and should the city take to improve the local economy?

There are three important steps that must be taken to improve the local economy. First, our city must be able to help residents get trained for the jobs that are available and going unfilled. Second, we must begin building an economy for the future by moving forward with Plan East Gainesville, Innovation Gainesville, Momentum 2015 and other initiatives to spur future job growth. Third, we must repair and maintain our infrastructure including roads, abandoned buildings, and public transportation systems.

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