Former Tallahassee NAACP President Adner Marcelin, a candidate for City Commission Seat 5, hosted a news conference Wednesday in front of City Hall.
Marcelin announced several endorsements, including the support of former City Commissioner Debbie Lightsey, former Mayor and Commissioner Dot Iman-Johnson, and former commissioners Bob Rackleff and Cliff Thaell, Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Tabitha Frazier, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
Marcelin, who is challenging Commissioner Diane Williams-Cox, who he supported in 2018, strongly advocates for economic change in Leon County.
“We have addressed poverty economics in the city because I think it ties to the crime rate here. We all know that Tallahassee is a beautiful city and it thrives when we are all safe,” Marcelin said.
Marcelin said he’s overwhelmed and excited by all of the encouragement and support he has received, but he did not hold back while expressing his concerns for the lack of affordable housing and the homelessness issue in Tallahassee.
“When it comes to how we got here, the history and the deal-making involved and creating the city hall system where a chosen few has access, and the rest of us are left behind.” Marcelin said.
Marcelin was one of the local candidates who pushed against the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency board’s decision last month to allocate more than $20 million for renovations of Florida State University’s Doak Campbell Stadium. He wrote a letter to FSU President Richard McCullough in December asking him to withdraw the funding request.
“Our community tried with all of their might to try to change a majority of our commissioners’ minds, now the community must change the majority of its commissioners.” Marcelin said.
He addressed his opposition to the project in a statement to Florida Politics about his campaign launch, saying he is running so unpopular policies don’t continue to pass over community opposition. “Whether it’s $27 million in economic development dollars being squandered for a stadium instead of investing in our community or commissioners voting down needed ethics reform, the unaccountable culture at City Hall has got to change,” Marcelin said. “I am running to be that change Tallahassee needs.”
Inman-Johnson, Tallahassee’s first Black female mayor, is Marcelin’s campaign manager, and stood next to him during his press conference as he gave his speech.
“He has demonstrated to me how much he cares about people, and particularly people and neighborhoods that need work as president of the NAACP,” she said. “Adner Marcelin will be the change agent this community so desperately needs.”
If Marcelin qualifies, he will be on the balloter the Aug. 23 primary.