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Meet Gail Johnson, The Local Candidate Fighting For Change In Florida

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If Trump’s presidency has done one helpful thing for America, it has inspired better people to run for office at all levels. And one of these better people is certified superhero (and former BUST Sales and Promotions Manager!) Gail Johnson, a candidate running for Gainesville, Florida’s City Commission.

Johnson, who lives with her 8-year-old daughter and owns a catering company, was inspired to run for an at-large seat on the commission as a means of speaking up against the Trump administration. “It did not even occur to me to run for office before Trump was elected President. I recognized then that there needed to be more women, more people of color, and more representation across the board at all levels,” she said in her candidate interview, viewable on Gail for Gainesville’s Facebook page.

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Though she doesn’t have a background in politics, Johnson definitely grew up with changemakers: her grandfather, Joseph Judge, served as the Alachua County NAACP President from 1986 to the late nineties. And as a business owner, Johnson is well-acquainted with and established in Gainesville. She hopes to guarantee that local institutions and businesses can continue to thrive in her hometown, and is also passionate about making housing affordable across the city.

“My story isn’t unique,” Johnson wrote in The Gainesville Sun. “It’s just unique compared to those in elected office in Gainesville. People with stories like mine don’t tend to run for office. We’re busy raising our children and working to make a living.”

Johnson has received endorsements from local committees and groups advocating for the LGBTQ community, environmental protection, and reproductive rights. Most recently, she’s also received the support of The Sun. “We believe Johnson will bring the bold leadership needed to help make Gainesville a better place to live for all residents,” wrote the editorial board in an op-ed.

gailgrandmother 91870Gail's grandmother, 95, voting for her granddaughter. Photo via Facebook.

Johnson is running against Harvey Budd, a former municipal auditor up for re-election. If she wins tomorrow, she’ll be the first African-American to take on the position in over 30 years.

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Learn more about Johnson’s story and campaign on her website, and remember to go out and vote in your local elections—even if you don’t live in Gainesville. You can check out a comprehensive list of resources and information on 2018 congressional, state, and local elections on USA.gov.

Top photo via GailforGainesville.com

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Lydia Wang is a writer, pug enthusiast, and hopeless romantic. She lives in New York, writes for BUST, and overshares on Twitter: @lydiaetc.

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