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Whelchel Smith joins a crowded field in Ward 3 race
Associate minister one of 4 competing to replace retiring Figueras
Montine Whelchel Smith

Montine Whelchel Smith, an associate minister at St. John Baptist Church, announced her candidacy for the Gainesville City Council Ward 3 seat in early September.

Smith joins three other candidates looking to replace Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras, who is retiring after nearly 20 years in office.

“I have long worked for positive change in our city … and I feel that now is the time to seek elected office,” Smith said.

Barbara Brooks, a retired social worker; Lemuel Betancourt, a project management specialist in the electrical industry; and Andrè Cheek, an outreach unit program coordinator with the Department of Juvenile Justice, have also announced their candidacy for the Ward 3 seat in the Nov. 3 election.

Smith said she hopes to bring fresh ideas to city leadership, with a focus on housing, education and fighting crime.

“I believe there are workable solutions available in order to make our city everything we want it to be and more,” she added.

Smith has spent her career working in a variety of professions, including nursing, substitute teaching, business administration and church ministry.

Now, she looks to join government and give voice to the unheard, she said.

“If it’s we the people, I think and honestly believe that people ought to have a voice,” Smith added.

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