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ABOUT JO LEE

Jo Lee Beaty is a citizen advocate and businesswoman. Born in New York City, she considers Norwalk, Connecticut, her hometown, and Worcester, Massachusetts, is where she attended high school. She graduated Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and did graduate work at Northern Illinois University in Child Development and Special Education.

In 1980, Jo Lee was elected to a six-year term on the St. Charles (Illinois) Park District Board of Commissioners (Illinois). She also served a year as Treasurer. This experience provides her with a valuable foundation in how government is supposed to work. This is where she got her introduction to governmental processes, including budgeting, accounting, planning, parliamentary procedure, and devising creative solutions to problems. During her term in office she was appointed to the St. Charles Park District seat on the Board of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA). In Gainesville, she has served on the boards of several religious organizations and was the director of a religious school.

 

In 1984 Jo Lee and her Gainesville-native husband, Bill Beaty, and their two young sons relocated back to Bill’s hometown. She and Bill have been in Gainesville since then and will soon celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

 

In 1985 Jo Lee accepted an interim position as the Alachua County Coordinator for the Child Abuse Prevention Project. She has been an active volunteer in Gainesville, as well wherever she has lived. In 1986 Bill, a psychologist, whose practice then focused on children and families, had clients in need of educational support. Jo Lee was enlisted to provide those services and the Education Center was born.

 

As Director of the Education Center, Jo Lee manages the business end and provides intake services to help clients decide what services, if any, are needed, with Bill providing evaluation and psychological services as appropriate.

 

Throughout the 1990s, one of the Education Center’s programs was a yearly five-week school for young competitive horseback riders who come from all over the Eastern United States to Ocala to compete at Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS). Jo Lee and her team of teachers kept these students current for their home classes, all within 12 hours of weekly instructional time.

 

Jo Lee has acquired much of her understanding of housing issues from several perspectives, including having managed affordable apartments as well as managing commercial property. She understands the complexity of Gainesville’s housing issues and the multitude of considerations that are needed when looking for solutions, an understanding that will help her as a Commissioner to wisely guide future zoning, land use, and housing issues in a direction that serves local residents and businesspeople alike.

 

While her sons were in school, she was active in the parent–teacher organizations (PTOs) at Littlewood Elementary School, Oak Hall, and Gainesville High School and was a frequent and involved attendee at Alachua County School Board meetings. Teaching and education in all different aspects of life are her calling. She identifies commonalities and finds the path of least resistance to bring people together to identify their common ground.

 

Whether building a team or working one-on-one, this talent is valuable for identifying experts, resources, and consultants as needed. Skilled in the art of analysis, Jo Lee knows when to ask questions, what to ask about, when to lean on others with more expertise and experience, and when to utilize the education and experiences she has accumulated over an adulthood of living, studying, and participating in private and public platforms in several locales.

 

Whether as a paid or volunteer advocate, Jo Lee knows how, and when to combine needs, talents, and resources in order to help people access the resources that will help them to improve their lives. "Matchmaking" come naturally (though no marriages yet!) to Jo Lee.

 

She listens, understands, and remembers people’s needs. And her varied experiences and contacts give her a storehouse of resources that allow her to help people by matching them to the appropriate resources. She is skilled at matching people to organizations and programs that can help them, and well as in budgeting time and dollars to maximize program impact.

 

For the past 15 years she has been laser-focused on Gainesville city government through regular attendance and participation at regular City Commission meetings, as well as committee and advisory board meetings. Among the accomplishments that support her credibility as she runs for City Commissioner, District 2, are that she (with a handful of others) is credited with alerting Gainesville’s citizenry about the importance of averting the looming biomass boondoggle that they saw coming long before it was major news.

 

She and other concerned citizens were involved in several legal actions in an effort to stop the Biomass contract. Though not stopped these actions resulted in the contract, which was to be kept from the public for over thirty years, and the public was informed of the questionable terms. Gainesville Citizens Care, Inc., whose purpose is public education and advocacy for issues of concern to the citizens of the Greater Gainesville Community was formed in 2011 and sued GRU for void the contract. This resulted in a mediated settlement (we had one attorney against the City Attorney’s office, their outside counsel, and the GREC attorneys.  This settlement allowed us to get more information out to the public (but not nearly enough).   

 

Jo Lee also was instrumental in bringing in the Florida State Auditor General in when it became obvious that the City’s procedures and practices were not as they should be, putting our Gainesville’s city government in fiscal jeopardy and cutting constituents our of their rightful place in our governmental process.

 

Jo Lee is probably the only candidate for a City Commission seat who can claim experience doing all of the following on a consistent basis:

 

  • Has not let the campaign keep her from continuing her advocacy. Reads the City Commission agenda and backup information, and does her own research on items coming before the Commission.

  • Has spoken at Commission meetings for at least 15 years in order to hold the Commissioners accountable, advocate for citizens, and fully inform the public.

  • Has assisted Gainesville residents with accessing services they desperately needed.

  • Has wrestled with the City to obtain public records.

  • Has uncovered problems or challenged the City to stop bad decision making.

  • Has sat through budget meetings year after year—and has watched that process devolve.

  • By using knowledge gained from research, public meetings, and public records, made the case for the State to take a look at the City’s finances and processes, resulting in the Florida State Auditor General performing an operational audit of the City.

  • With others, continues to follow the results of the Auditor General’s report and has been continuing to advocate for the City Commission to be more open about the report.

  • Knows a lot about the Florida State Auditor General’s operational audit and report and what is really going on with the City’s finances, beyond the minimum that the City Commission has chosen to share.

  • Will continue to do so as your City Commissioner for District 2

 

A vote for Jo Lee Beaty is a vote for a truly responsible and responsive
City Commissioner, District 2.
Your vote is needed and greatly appreciated.

I invite and welcome your support and your vote!  

Jo Lee Beaty