Gene Knight: "I want to give the people a voice. They are listening to us, bit they don't hear us."

Knight: “I’m not running for the office, I’m running for the people”

Gene Knight is a crusader on a mission, and his mission is a seat on the City Commission.

Friends, family, and supporters turned out for Knight’s meet-and-greet event at Porkie’s Original BBQ Wednesday evening. He announced his campaign for City Commission (Seat #1) last week. Knight is the founder of the local social media group Apopka Then and Now.

Vice Mayor Billie Dean has held Seat #1 on the City Commission since 1994 but is undecided on a possible run for what would be his sixth term. Pastor Alexander Smith, a retired Orange County Public School educator, has also announced his candidacy for Seat #1.

Gene Knight: “I want it to be that everyone matters and everyone’s voice matters. They (the City Council) are listening to us talk, but they’re not hearing us.”

“We’re too divided,” said Knight. “We need to concentrate on all of Apopka. A lot of Apopka is going downhill, and eventually, those areas will create crime and diminish Apopka’s appearance. I believe we are concentrating in one area, and not all areas.”

He described that one area as Rock Springs, Errol Estate and the northwest part of Apopka in general. Knight sees the big picture, but he also wants to take care of small but important details.

“I do want to see Apopka grow,” he said. “But I also want to see sidewalks for children to walk on. There should be more of them.”

According to Knight, he has dealt with the City before and would like those dealings to get a little easier than they often do.

“I’ve had to fight to get things done like lighting, sidewalks, and trees taken down in certain areas,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to push the issues to get someone to take care of it. I want it to be that everyone matters and everyone’s voice matters. They (the City Council) are listening to us talk, but they’re not hearing us.”

Knight has no fundraising goals but did leave open the idea of donating to his campaign if necessary. He also has access to 3,000 followers on Apopka Then and Now. However, Knight prefers a traditional campaign that includes knocking on doors and believes the passion he has for Apopka will make the difference.

And he sees an election not as a contest for a seat, but as a people’s crusade.

“I’m the kind of person that when I take on something, I take it head on,” he said. “I want to get the word out there myself. Of course, I’ll need some money to get signs and things, but I want to go out and meet the people door-to-door. That’s the way to get people out to vote. I’m not running for the office, I’m running for the people.”


  1. I agree with Gene that some things need more attention. Dream Lake Park is one of those things. I have carried on and on about the cattails across the frontage of the park taking over. I have brought it up many times. When I saw a crew down there I was jumping for joy and posted that I was a happy camper because the cattails were being taken out, and that the park was being fixed up. I guess I spoke too quickly, as only a few cattails were taken out, and what was left is somewhat of a ditch between the bank and the remaining cattails making it even worse. A vehicle crash had taken out the wooden bridge previously and it still is not replaced. I know they sprayed the cattails once before as they turned a little yellow and that didn’t faze them, but the physical removal of the cattails didn’t go far enough to make the shoreline look nice, and you still can’t hardly fish for them. The city had them cleaned out before regularly under Mayor Land until his age progressed and he couldn’t get around as much to take care of things like he used to. It is a pretty park that has so much more potential.

  2. The city is focusing on run down parks in the central part of town. Grants have been secured for Alonzo Williams and Lake Avenue. The mayor added a sidewalk on Monroe Street and curbing on Summit Street to make more safe walk available to Sheeler and Dream Lake students respectively. Thank you City Council for listening!

  3. Mary, guess what? Dream Lake Park is in the central part of town, and it has been nothing but hot air talk, no action that has resulted in anything positive for Dream Lake Park. Also, the sidewalks that were added down Monroe didn’t come there very easily, it was after Mr. Toby McIntire kept on and on and on, and FINALLY they were installed, so really everyone can thank Mr. McIntire for the sidewalks!

  4. Also Mary there was talk of putting in a pocket park along Vick Road. What happened to that? People were getting excited about it, but again, just talk.

  5. Now I listened to the audio of the last council meeting and toward the end they spoke of having another workshop about the role of commissioners and how to be an effective commissioner. They are going to bring in an expert lady for a fee, and she is going over everything so they will know exactly what is expected of them, and to gain knowledge. Well, let’s hope it is worth it, let’s hope the lady can drill some good stuff into their heads because they sure don’t want to listen to their constituents. That would seem to me, to be the starting point to being an effective commissioner rather than having their minds already made up before the public even gets to speak before a vote.


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