GAINESVILLE – Gainesville residents are now within one week of selecting a new member of the Gainesville City Council.
The Ward 5 post became an open race when longtime councilwoman Ruth Bruner announced in February that she would not be seeking re-election.
Bruner’s announcement to step down presented the opportunity Gainesville residents Juli Clay and William “Bill” Bush saw as their time to step forward and seek Bruner’s seat.
Two other ward seats in the city will be up for re-election and appearing on the ballot, but the incumbents representing those wards are in uncontested races: Ward 2 representative Zach Thompson and Ward 3 representative Barbara Brooks are both unopposed.
While the prize in Tuesday’s election is a seat representing Ward 5, the election itself is city-wide and is not limited to only the voters living in Ward 5.
William Bush, or Bill, as he prefers to be known, says on his website that he and his wife, Ashley, recently opened a shop in Gainesville, The Gainesville Collective, to help promote local artisans, and that he hopes if elected to effect measures that enlarge green space and parks, encourage affordable housing construction, and enhance the downtown and midtown areas, among other concerns.
“We need not debate whether or not Gainesville should grow,” Bush says on his election website, “what we need is a plan for the growth that is going to happen in our city during the next 10 years.”
According to the candidate’s Facebook page, the 34-year-old Bush has lived in Gainesville for the past nine years, worked at Adventures in Missions for nearly nine years and is now with Allstate, working with an agency in Gainesville.
Juli Clay is vying for the Ward 5 seat against Bush and recently was a guest on WDUN's Morning Talk with Martha Zoller where she explained her reason for running for city council.
"I’ve worked in Gainesville for over 14 years and over that time I’ve had great opportunity to be involved in a lot of organizations…and I think it’s time for me to step up and to serve and to give back."
Clay works at Brenau University where she is Assistant Vice President of the Executive Program and Department Chair of the Communications Program.
She is the mother of three children who attend Gainesville City Schools and is a graduate of Auburn University. She has been involved with The United Way, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Source, the Elachee Nature Science Center and the Rotary Club, among others.
Clay told Zoller, "I think one thing that's really great about Gainesville City Council is that, being in a non-partisan position, there's not the debate over where we need to focus, and I think the intention of everybody on the Gainesville City Council really is to do what's best for Gainesville."
Early voting continues this week, ending at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 1. Election day is Tuesday, November 5, and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information on Juli Clay click here.