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Student aims for Gainesville City Council seat

POSTED: July 10, 2013 11:46 p.m.

Twenty-two-year-old Pablo Picazo said Tuesday he plans to run for the Gainesville City Council seat against long-serving Councilman George Wangemann, representing District 4.

Picazo is a student at the University of North Georgia and works two part-time jobs to get by. He’s been a Gainesville resident since 1996.

Minority residents of Gainesville have lived as second-class citizens, Picazo said, and he wants to make a difference by serving his city.

“I feel like if given this opportunity, there’s lot’s of different options we can take as a city into helping get these minorities their voice, their opinions out into the forefront and not just brush them aside,” Picazo said.

Ward 1 and Ward 4 seats are up for election this year. This is also the first year Gainesville residents will elect a mayor.

The new mayor plan keeps the council’s current election structure intact, calling for the citywide election of five council members from each of the city’s wards and a continued two-year rotation of mayor pro tempore. But it adds a sixth seat to the council: A mayor elected from any of the five wards.

Picazo graduated from Gainesville State College, before it consolidated with North Georgia College & State University, with an associate degree in sociology and criminal justice and plans to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

He said he doesn’t consider himself to be a politician and said he doesn’t do anything unless he’s well informed before. He’s attended the Gainesville Citizens’ Government Academy and and said he knows how the city’s government works.

He works part time as a commercial driver and umpires baseball games on the weekends.

Qualifying for mayor and council seats is set for Aug. 26-28. The fee is $35 for mayor and $621 for council member.

State election law dictates the fee be 3 percent of the salary paid the previous year, and no salary was yet set for mayor.

The last day for residents to register to vote is Oct. 7, which is also the first day of early voting. The election is Nov. 5.


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