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.
“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.”