Craig Lowe: Making the investments needed to assure quality of life

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 4:21 p.m.

On April 16, the residents of Gainesville have a clear choice between two very different candidates for mayor.

That choice will determine whether Gainesville is able to provide the best we can for our residents as we move into the future or whether we enter a period of austerity that would ignore the investments needed to assure quality of life. I believe that my accomplishments in my first term and my commitment to moving Gainesville forward through collaboration with community, business and neighborhood leaders makes me the best choice.

I first ran for public office with a vision for moving Gainesville into the 21st century while preserving the things that make our city a unique and wonderful place to live. During my first term as mayor, I'm proud to say that in collaboration with others I've helped make the first parts of this vision a reality.

Since 2010, Gainesville has added thousands of new jobs, reducing unemployment and giving our residents the single best tool to improve their lives — stable jobs. By creating jobs in a variety of industries, from technology and medical to trades and construction, we also have reduced crime and made our neighborhoods safer, better places to live.

Job creation isn't an accident — it is the result of a shared vision and commitment. When I spoke to companies like Mindtree (an international software firm) and Silver Airways (which is creating jobs for flight attendants and aircraft mechanics here), I told them that they could give their employees an excellent quality of life by locating in Gainesville.

We have worked hard to deliver thriving parks and recreation, arts and culture, safe and strong neighborhoods, and a city government that ensures that everyone is treated equally. In turn when companies announced plans to locate or expand here they cited that quality of life as a major reason for their decision. These policies aren't just the right thing to do — they make Gainesville a more attractive place to start and grow a business.

I've also championed initiatives that will serve the long-term interests of our city. Leadership isn't just about short-term decision-making, but about laying a long-term foundation. During my first term we've moved our regional utility away from dirty, out-of-state energy sources like coal and transitioned towards solar and other renewable energy sources, positioning ourselves to do well in future market conditions and keeping our environment cleaner and safer. I've also stood up for strong, comprehensive transit. Public transportation reduces congestion, improves quality of life and is an economic driver that allows people to get to and from work and commerce when they otherwise might not be able to.

On all of these issues, my positions are the complete opposite of my conservative opponent's. My opponent has attacked public transit and as a city commissioner voted to reject additional funding for it multiple times. He now claims to favor putting "three out of four" new transit dollars towards transit to some crowds, while telling The Gainesville Sun that fixing our roads is our first priority.

I am the only candidate who has backed a concrete proposal to accomplish a balanced transportation plan including a means to fund it. While missing many votes as a city commissioner, my opponent still showed up to vote repeatedly against environmental protection, the expansion of growth and development in east Gainesville, and against strengthening antidiscrimination protections that advance equality.

Simply put, my opponent's views are out of step with Gainesville, and he has reversed himself on many issues of the day, including his enthusiastic initial vote for a biomass plant he now opposes.

Voters deserve a public servant who has been a consistent advocate for the basic priorities of our city: job creation, quality roads and transportation, safe strong neighborhoods, effective advocacy for equality, and environmental protection. While we still have a long way to go, I have proven my commitment to these goals both through my votes and through my engagement of a diversity of community members to pursue real action on these issues.

As mayor, I've been fighting to move Gainesville forward, and I need your vote to finish the job. Please re-elect Mayor Craig Lowe on April 16.

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