Andrew Gillum laid the groundwork. A former student body president at Florida A&M, Gillum was elected to the Tallahassee City Commission in 2003 while still in school.
Now Gallup Franklin II wants to follow that path. A former two-term Student Government Association president at FAMU, Franklin has applied for the vacant Tallahassee City Commission seat that will be decided on New Year’s Eve.
Out of 93 applicants, Franklin has secured a spot as one of nine finalists.
He graduated from FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and, after working as a pharmacist at Publix now teaches at his alma mater. Franklin, a Tallahassee native, says he wants to create the same opportunities that were offered to him for every child.
“In Tallahassee, I am proof that with hard work, youth programs, good health care, church communities, public safety, parks and recreation and high-quality education that the odds were certainly in my favor. I have been living the ‘Tallahassee Dream,’” Franklin wrote in his application for the city commission seat.
Although Franklin did not intend on running for public office, his resume speaks for itself and indicates that he has always had a passion to help people no matter what role in the community he plays.
As a former FAMU Board of Trustee member and vice-chair for the Florida Board of Governors, Franklin says he is “no stranger to serving on large boards and handling large budgets.” While he was serving on the Board of Governors as the State University System’s SGA representative, he had a hand in implementing policy utilizing $9.6 billion for 11 institutions that involved over 50,000 employees and more than 300,000 students.
Chelsea Matthews, FAMU alumna and Gallop’s fiancée, has known Franklin since 2006. For the past 12 years she has been able to closely observe Franklin’s willingness to support others.
When reflecting on Franklin’s demonstration of leadership, Matthews recalls the quote by Martin Luther King: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“Even when it was unpopular, I’ve witnessed Gallop stay true to being unapologetically honest and fair, staying true to his values and belief system that persuades him to do what’s right even when no one is watching,” said Matthews.
Margaret Franklin, Gallop’s mother, always knew that her son would run for public office.
“From birth, he has always been a leader. I see him in my home daily reaching out to help others and not expecting anything in return. I most admire his desire to be honest and do the right thing no matter what others think,” she said.
One of Margaret Franklin’s fondest memories of her son is when he called her at 11 one night to bring the family truck. He had collected 100 bags of food to donate to the homeless for Thanksgiving.
According to Franklin, because of former student body presidents such as Gillum, the former mayor of Tallahassee and the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida earlier this year, and Ramon Alexander, who serves in the Florida House of Representatives, his candidacy should not be taken lightly.
“I am committed to waking up each and every day trying to increase the life of those in the community regardless of my profession,” said Franklin.