Alumnus aspires for city seat

The old credit union building sits in shambles on Palmer and Melvin Streets but the second floor holds what many are calling Tallahassee’s “best bet” for a new city commissioner for seat two.

Andrew Gillum, 23, a former Student Government Association president, said he’s dedicated to making Tallahassee and its South Side more viable and attractive to new industry.

“We can’t continue to rely on state and federal government and let FAMU and FSU be the sole employers here in this city,” Gillum said.

Gillum is one of the youngest candidates to run for a seat in the city commission.

Micah Zeno, one of Gillum’s deputy campaign managers, said Gillum’s youth and drive are two of his strongest characteristics. He feels that Gillum will have no trouble winning the primaries for his seat.

“Andrew is extremely mature for his age,” Zeno said.

“The fact that he is so young means he can and will bridge the obvious gap between Tallahassee’s two major age groups as well as being a diverse outlook to the city commission.”

“Right now I feel he can offer the best to Tallahassee,” said Marti Johnson, founder and president of Florida’s Black Forum Johnson.

Gillum said the priorities of his campaign platform involve the South Side being the target area of reformation.

“I don’t believe that the city has made the development of the South Side a priority in the past,” Gillum said referring to road construction.

His recommendations include having the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering commissioned to create plans to address flooding in the city.

“Every suggestion I have may not be a complete solution, but that’s why we’ve got five commissioners so we can bring all our assets to the table,” he said.

“I feel I can bring in the most assets.”

He has the credentials to back his claim. Gillum is an active member of the State of Florida Higher Education Funding Advisory Board and was recognized in 2001 by the National Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington D.C. as the country’s top student leader.

The transition from being respected as a student to an adult hasn’t been easy, he said.

“For a while my campaign was taken for granted because people were saying things like, ‘he’s too young’ and ‘he can’t do it’,” he said.

“As far as I’m concerned, this city has neglected folks my age and who look like me for far too long and they can’t do it anymore.”