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Commissioners address community concerns at Town Hall

Posted at 12:10 AM, Apr 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-06 00:10:29-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — "See where our local government stands on certain issues and what they're doing actively to try and address concerns that the community has," said Mackenzie Hopkins.

Hundreds of people at Tuesday's Town Hall are engaging in conversations with local officials about big issues happening in our community.

"In the City Commission discussion you heard them say that public safety is their number one strategic priority. It's very important for us too," said County Commissioner Rick Minor.

Gun violence, affordable housing and creating jobs with a livable wage are all big concerns community members expressed to city and county commissioners at the Village Square Tallahassee Town Hall. The panel discussion allowed people to ask local officials questions about what's going on in our community and what needs to change.

Florida State University student Mackenzie Hopkins was eager to hear updates about how commissioners plan to move the community forward. However, she was interested in hearing about one issue, in particular.

"I was thinking about before I came in here was the protest that recently happened and the arrests that were made and I think that some of the responses I heard were a little bit disheartening," said Hopkins.

11 protesters with Occupy Tally were arrested for trespassing at city hall during a pro-choice protest Monday night. Protester Sarah Parker says they came to the town hall to ask city commissioners to help get their charges dropped.

"We are going to fight these charges. We're going to ask for these charges to be dropped and then from there on it's going to be the city's move. They can easily apologize and condemn our arrest," said Parker.

Although, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox said she supports some civil disobedience, she believes people still need to abide by the laws.

"They didn't do this to get arrested but they knew it was possible, so I'm not understanding why we're shocked. If you break the law, then you can be arrested and you were told that many times," said Williams-Cox.

Parker said she is frustrated that some commissioners will not advocate for them when it comes to the protest arrests.

"All we wanted to do was squash it and move on because at the end of the day we are not taking away from the message we are making the message loud and clear," said Parker.

Other topics commissioners tackled were climate change and environmental issues, such as Lake Munson, increasing the pipeline for trade jobs and economic development projects.

Both boards said they'll take what they heard at the Town Hall and discuss them at their upcoming commission meetings.