Scherwin Henry: Diversifying the economy and being a mayor to all


Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 25, 2013 at 5:40 p.m.

Gainesville is the place I have called home all of my 60 years of living. I have remained a resident because of my love for this city.

It is here I have been blessed to build a life for my family and me. It is the place I was able to fall in love and marry my wife of 41 years, Charmaine. We were able to raise our two loving children, Gerard and Renee, who have gone on to live productive lives.

As a little boy and eventually as a young man growing up in Gainesville, I realized that Gainesville was a tale of two cities.

One city experienced a wealth of economic growth, prosperity and a great quality of life. The other city experienced just the opposite: minimal-to-no economic prosperity and a lesser quality of life.

It was that revelation that inspired me to become involved and seek public office. I was elected to my first term as the District 1 city commissioner in 2006. I was blessed to be re-elected to the commission in 2009.

During my tenure as city commissioner, I was able to facilitate and/or bring about the change in our community that we advocated for many years. To serve senior citizens, we now have a senior center.

We made significant strides in providing new housing stock in District 1. We brought jobs via the Walmart supercenters and Innovation Square in District 1.

I supported establishment of an innovation economy, but we must produce jobs in other job sectors. I also advocated for the Butler Plaza expansion, which will bring about 1,000 jobs once complete.

There will be many challenges for the next mayor. I am ready to lead in finding solutions to those challenges when elected. I will be a mayor to all citizens. One of the challenges we face is restoring the confidence and mutual respect between local government and the citizens we represent and serve.

We must improve the economic progress of our city by diversifying our economy and recruiting companies that pay a living wage.

Business development and ecnomic expansion must be facilitated by developing sensible regulations that don't become a burden to the established business owner or budding entrepreneur.

Job opportunities must exist for all citizens whether they work in the blue collar, white collar, skilled trades or service sectors.

It is time for a new era to begin in Gainesville's city government. It is a time for a new way of thinking and doing business in Gainesville.

In closing, I ask you to join me and support my campaign as I endeavor to become the next mayor. Governing is about the people. My candidacy is about: "Leadership with a vision" and being a voice for the people of Gainesville.

Let's make Gainesville a great place and an even greater city to live. I ask you to support the Scherwin Henry campaign for mayor. I ask you to voter and vote for Scherwin Henry for mayor on March 19.

Scherwin Henry is one of six candidates for Gainesville mayor.

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