Thursday Jan. 30, 2003
J.R. Harding profile
Candidate for City Commission Seat 3
Platform: Return civility to local government — Enhance economic development by implementing Blueprint 2000 — Implement a property tax exemption for senior citizens — Support our neighborhoods and build our communities — Support local firefighters and law enforcement officers
Qualifications: “The qualifications that make me a better choice for the city commission than my opponents for seat 3 and make me a better representative for your interests are numerous. One, I am a past graduate student of FSU and know the frustrations you have with city government and the qualities that make FSU great. Second, I currently serve as a voting member of FSU’s Alumni Board and thus have an intimate knowledge of the quality of life issues that affect the student body and am personally interested in the long-term vitality of FSU.
“Third, I employ five FSU students and thus am reminded daily of the issues taking place on campus. Fourth, I was the only two-time student regent in the history of the past Florida Board of Regents. Therefore, I understand the need for need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships, housing choices, and of course, the parking problem. My involvement in public service is extensive and it includes city, state and national activities.”
Main impetus for candidacy: “Many individuals are interested in what motivates someone to run for public office. In my case, I am driven by a profound need to repay a debt to the Tallahassee community. This debt originated in the fall of 1998 when I went through the windshield of my van on Interstate-75 and broke two legs, my shoulder and my neck for the second time.
“Tallahassee and the FSU community in particular reached out to me in my time of great need. All parts of the community wrote letters, volunteered, sent flowers and facilitated my return to the community. In fact, the flowers in my house today are from my hospital room at the time and constantly remind me of the selflessness and love of this community.”
Why the candidate feels students should vote for him: “I want to be your city commissioner because I will aggressively pursue an active partnership between Florida State, the Tallahassee community and the city government. The universities in our community play a key role in the development of our city, provide and create numerous job opportunities, and enrich the standard of living of our city. If elected, I want to give back to FSU and my community by helping students make those critical professional contacts with businesses by establishing mentorship programs in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce.
“I want to make sure your concerns are understood and reacted to by the city government by holding several town hall meetings on campus and continuing to participate in the activities of FSU. The fact that there are so few professional opportunities for students in Tallahassee, that housing fees are unconscionably high, and that you find city government hostile to your issues are all indications of how the city ignores your concerns.
“Together with your vote, we can collaboratively work together to shape the future of this town. A future where there are job openings for you in Tallahassee and where you can earn a living. A future where tomorrow’s college students have more and better housing choices, and finally, a future where students have a place to park their car without getting it towed.”
In closing: “Please prove the cynics wrong. Please prove that you in fact care about the community in which you live. Please reaffirm what I already know, which is that you are involved, and care about and are involved in the community. Through your collective votes, the college student can have a profound impact on city issues. Whether you choose to vote for me or not, please vote on Feb. 4, 2003.”
Other facts: Received doctorate in education from FSU in 1999. Currently works for the Florida Department of Education.