‘Elated’ professor eyes city position

On Feb. 4, Tallahassee voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots for Anthony “Dr. V.” Viegbesie, one of the four contenders for county commissioner seat three.

He said he would like to start a collaboration project with the community and college students.

“We can use these resources to help develop the city, instead of pulling people from all over the world,” Viegbesie said. “We can even help (those students) with their tuition and let them use their knowledge.

“As a college professor, I know those resources are there.”

Viegbesie has been an economics and public administration professor at Tallahassee Community College and an adjunct economics and agricultural business professor at FAMU for nearly 20 years.

TCC President William Law said he thinks collaboration efforts would be helpful.

“Intellectual capacity is what attracts businesses to the city,” Law said.

Charles Evans, director of graduate academic studies at the FAMU School of Business and Industry, agrees.

“One way to stimulate the economy is to bring in big businesses,” Evans said, adding that the universities don’t pay property taxes.

“I was quite taken with his efforts to improve the workforce,” Law said. “But he’s an economist at heart and he understands these things.”

Viegbesie’s platform also includes protecting senior citizens’ income and fiscal conservatism, citing a “$180 million surplus in trust funds” that could help reduce Tallahassee’s utility rates.

Evans said Viegbesie’s willingness to bring in businesses is unprecedented.

“Tallahassee shuns big businesses coming into the city,” Evans said. “They like their green fields and green trees.”

Viegbesie said he would also like to improve environmental protection, neighborhood preservation and flood water management.

“Flooding is a very, very big problem in Southside and Frenchtown,” Viegbesie said.

Viegbesie serves on the Capital City and Greater Tallahassee chambers of commerce. He is also a member of the NAACP and served as the Tallahassee branch’s president.

Evans, the current Tallahassee NAACP president, said Viegbesie has a “pretty good” chance of winning the election if minorities and students vote for him.

“African Americans and students can surely outweigh the vote,” Evans said.

Though Law said he is not in the position to publicly endorse anyone and has not yet decided for whom he will vote, but he said Viegbesie is “a serious candidate.”

“I’m elated,” Viegbesie said. “I’m trying to use my God-given talents, my God-given abilities to better the lives of God’s people.”

Tanya Caldwell can be reached at tanya_caldwell@yahoo.com.