Christian Newman Gainesville Experience and Why It Matters for Decision Making for District 4 and Gainesville

Christian Newman…

Grew up in Gainesville

  • Has watched Gainesville go from a small college town to a small city.

  • Wants to maintain and promote Gainesville’s neighborhood character.

  • Has watched Gainesville grow westward and understands why and how policies and investment have favored and disproportionally benefited and/or excluded certain areas of Gainesville.

  • Believes it is in all of Gainesville’s best interest to bring back jobs, services, investment, and opportunity for east Gainesville.

  • Has the seen the decline in local businesses (e.g. Burrito Brothers, Leonardos 706, Lipham Music) and believes that Gainesville can better support and promote all types of local businesses throughout Gainesville—wants to see local dollars to stay local as much as possible.

Entrepreneur/Small Business Owner

  • Has first-hand experiences with the challenges of starting and owning a three small business in Gainesville and the ways the City can support small local business.

  • Understands how the City can adopt policies and initiatives to support residents start to start businesses to help keep local dollars stay local.

  • Wants to see Gainesville promoting and celebrating more than just technology companies—build out and train a more diverse economy and workforce.

  • Has experience with the challenges recruiting, hiring, managing, supporting, and keeping talent in Gainesville.

  • Started company in the UF Technology Innovation HUB and understands that opportunities and challenges of Gainesville technology start-ups.

  • Co-founded Business Alliance for Greater Gainesville (BAGG) to promote small local businesses in early 2000’s.

Teacher and Coach

  • Understands that not all kids in Gainesville have the same opportunities, and many of the reasons are tied to how the City makes land use, zoning, and economic investment decisions.

  • Believes kids can’t have an equitable and excellent education without policies supporting parents, jobs, transportation, housing, and food systems for all residents.

  • Knows the City has a role to play across Gainesville to leverage resources and partnerships to support after school programs and recreation that will give kids opportunities to grow outside of school.

  • Believes that it is in the best interest for community and neighborhood safety to support youth and community development.

  • Believe City has a critical role in keeping our kids safe.

Master of Science (MS) Degree in Wildlife Conservation and Ecology

  • Is researching how climate change is impacting species and ecosystems and ways to support biodiversity by implementing proactive conservation measures now to make them and people more resilient.

  • Has a deep technical understanding of how people and ecosystems can co-exist so that we can be more sustainable.

  • Understands that human health is dependent on a healthy environment.

  • Believes that we should consider using “nature-based” solutions to address extreme events and protect communities and essential infrastructure.

  • Believes in “adaptive management” and making evidence-based decisions for all decisions.

  • Has led projects to protect springs and water resources in the region.

  • Has been part of projects to identify and protect conservation lands and strategic ecosystems in Alachua County and other counties.

  • Has actual field experience walking around in natural areas and strategic ecosystems all over Gainesville and in Alachua County for work or for recreation.

  • Understands that “diversity” makes ecosystems stronger and more resilient.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree

  • Understands finance and organizational management.

  • Has ability to evaluate business and organizational motivations to drive optimal behaviors and decisions.

  • Believes the key difference between “good” and “great” organizations is because of strong culture and commitment to a core mission— the City’s culture is broken, and we need to support rebuilding a culture of service to each other and residents in the City from the ground up.

  • Understands that we need to get a Return on Investment (ROI) with our taxes, assets, natural lands and people.  ROI is more than just financial; it includes social, health, environment, and justice metrics understanding that some benefits are hard to measure.

Homeowner

  • Values the right for residents to have the choice to live in single-family neighborhoods and will protect neighborhoods along with their character and function across Gainesville.

  • Understands that we need affordable housing and should include a diversity of housing in all parts of Gainesville for all income levels.

  • Understands the value and challenges of home ownership, particularly with older homes and wants to support homeowners being able upgrade appliances, window, and insulation to be more resilient in the face of more extreme heat events and higher utility bills.

  • Knows how GRU decisions impact overall living costs.

  • Faced challenges finding affordable housing while at UF and when he started his business. 

  • Knows that our local taxes and GRU rates make Gainesville less affordable than surrounding areas.

UF Graduate

  • Believes we should leverage technical and scientific expertise from UF to address complex local challenges.

  • Understands that UF brings many benefits to Gainesville buts its motivation is to give degrees to students and does not always have Gainesville’s best interest—we must look to find ways to derive mutual benefits.

  • Knows that students and fans come and go but Gainesville residents need to be the focus of the City.

Renewable Energy Researcher

  • Is leading environmental research related to wildlife and ecosystems to understand better how we can sustainably build out the energy infrastructure to achieve clean energy goals in a low-cost, reliable, and environmental/socially/equitable, responsible way.

  • Is involved and interacting with world-leading researchers focused on overcoming technical and economic barriers to addressing climate change by transitioning to economy-wide electrification.

  • Understands that we need to consider and mitigate how the clean energy transition will impact all communities economically and socially.

City Plan Board Member

  • Understands how land use and zoning decisions are made and impact lives.

  • Understands the decision processes, policies, and authorities of the City government.

  • Has had the experience of weighing expert and community testimony to make decisions.

  • Believes that the City does not listen to citizens and or do “public participation”. 

  • Knows from firsthand experience that good public participation will help make us make better decisions and will build trust and transparency.

Renter

  • Has lived in apartments and older homes that were not well maintained by owners.

  • Struggled with affordable housing and utility rates while at UF and early in career.

  • Has been a renter from unscrupulous landlords.

Husband and Father

  • Wants Gainesville to be a place where all our kids would have a chance to live and work if they decided to stay in Gainesville.

  • Understands the importance of maintaining parks and recreational facilities that are safe and welcoming for kids and all residents

  • Believes the City has a role in helping all our kids to be safe in school and in the community.

Community Volunteer

  • Understands that non-profits groups are making significant differences in people’s lives, and we need to find ways use them to provide direct benefits to at-risk citizens.

  • Believes that we need to understand that non-profits are businesses that not only provide value to stakeholders or issues they serve, but they provide jobs and keep local dollars circulating locally.

  • Believes we need to partner, support, and leverage volunteer organizations to strengthen Gainesville.

Political Outsider

  • Is not connected to existing elected officials and their past decisions.

  • Welcomes public participation and listening to citizens and local experts to help us make better decisions.

  • Has not been involved in local politics and will bring fresh eyes to problem-solving.

  • Believes that an elected official’s primary function is provide servant leadership that empowers others to succeed.

  • Understands that if elected, he will be one of seven commissioners and will need to build trust and consensus with other Commissioners to achieve beneficial outcomes for the City.