Andrew D. Gillum born July 26, 1979 is an American politician serving his first term as Mayor of Tallahassee since 2014. At the age of 23, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission in February 2003.
On August 28, 2018, Gillum became the Florida Democratic Party’s nominee for Governor of Florida when he unexpectedly won the Democratic primary election over a field of 5 other candidates including former U.S. representative Gwen Graham. He will face off against Republican Ron DeSantis in the general election.
Gillum was responsible for a number of community enrichment projects during his eleven years as a city commissioner. The Digital Harmony Project is an initiative championed by Gillum with support from the City of Tallahassee, local businesses and technology partnerships. Digital Harmony won the Significant Achievement Award in the Web & e-Government Services category from the Public Technology Institute. For the first two years, it provided every incoming Nims Middle School sixth and seventh-grader with a new desktop computer, free internet access and online academic curriculum training on core subjects. The school holds ongoing training courses for parents and students on basic computer skills and school curriculum. This effort places 200 computers into the homes of Nims Middle School students.
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Gillum championed the opening of the first Tallahassee Teen Center, The Palmer Munroe Center, which serves as a safe haven for many area youth and operates a restorative justice program. Restorative justice programs have shown significant success, compared to non-restorative measures, in improving victim and/or offender satisfaction, increasing offender compliance with restitution,and decreasing the recidivism of offenders. Gillum stressed these results as some of the reasons for the great importance of the Palmer Munroe Center.
Before taking office, Gillum met with various mayors in order to learn from their successes. He also launched the Tallahassee Mayoral Fellows Program in partnership with Florida Agricultural And Mechanical University and Florida State University, allowing high-achieving graduate students to gain experience working in City government. Gillum was sworn into Office on November 21, 2014.
In January 2015, Mayor Gillum strongly supported the City of Tallahassee joining in the Ban the Box campaign; arguing that the initiative does not stop the city from conducting background checks, but rather gives applicants a fair shot at employment and reduces recidivism. On January 28 the Tallahassee City Commission voted 3-2 to drop the box.
On February 17, 2015 Mayor Gillum welcomed United States Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, to Tallahassee to kick off the GROW AMERICA Express Tour. Gillum also contributed to the DOT Fastlane Blog, in which he stressed the importance of long-term transportation investments for America’s mid-size cities.
In an effort to overhaul how City Advisory Committees, a series of local advisory boards, operate in Tallahassee, Mayor Gillum released a survey in March 2015 to gain feedback into the city’s numerous boards and motivate citizens to get involved with local government. Also in March 2015, Mayor Gillum participated in a conference call with other Florida mayors and United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Bruce Andrews; a call in which Gillum stated his support for Congress to pass trade promotion legislation that would bolster international trade, and stressed the importance for local governments of a leveled playing field.
Gillum won the the Democratic nomination for governor over former congresswoman Gwen Graham, 34-31%. He will face Ron DeSantis in the general election.
As former National Director of the Young Elected Officials Network with People For the American Way Foundation, Gillum spearheaded a program that seeks to unite elected officials age 35 and under in a network which supports them with leadership and personal development training and public policy support. With Gillum at the helm, in May 2006, the program evolved into a national network that links young elected officials across the country and helps identify solutions to the challenges facing our communities and states. Gillum also served as Field Organizer and statewide Director of the “Arrive With 5” program with People For the American Way Foundation. He organized the largest “Arrive With 5” get-out-the-vote campaign in Florida’s history. He also worked as Deputy Political Director with the Florida Democratic Party. He currently serves as Director of Youth Leadership Programs with People For the American Way Foundation. According to hacked emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, Gillum’s name appeared on an early list of contenders for Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 Presidential election.
Andrew Gillum has received many honors and accolades. While attending FAMU, Gillum was recognized by the National Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington, D.C. as the country’s top student leader in 2001. In 2004, he was named to Ebony magazine’s “Fast Track 30 Leaders Who Are 30 and Under.” In 2007, Gillum was recognized as an Emerging Leader of the month by IMPACT and subsequently became their inaugural Emerging Leader of the Year during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in September 2007. Gillum was named as a “2010 Emerging Leader” by Essence Magazine.
As part of Florida A&M University’s 2012 125th Anniversary Quasiquicentennial Celebration, Gillum was honored as an Outstanding Alumni, along with 124 other FAMU alumni. Also in 2012, Gillum was named as one of “50 Young Progressive Activists Who Are Changing America,” by the Huffington Post. Recently, in 2014, Gillum was named as one of the 40 Under 40 by the Washington Post political blog “The Fix.