Commissioner Andrew Gillum
With a passion for public service, and the ability to motivate and mobilize people to action, Commissioner Andrew D. Gillum is recognized statewide and nationally as an emerging leader. At the age of 23, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission in February 2003. At the time of the election, Gillum was a student at Florida A&M University (FAMU), majoring in political science. In August 2004, Commissioner Gillum was re-elected to serve for a full four-year term, re-elected without opposition in August of 2008, and subsequently re-elected in August 2012.
In November 2004, Gillum garnered increased prominence for his civic leadership when he was elected by his fellow City Commissioners to serve a one-year term as Mayor Pro Tem, again in November 2008, and also in November 2012. During his ten years of service, Gillum has served on various City Commission target issue and special interest committees. He currently serves as the lead commissioner for the Innovation and Engagement Target Issue Committee, co-commissioner for Financial Viability Target Issue Committee; and a member of the Joint Planning Board for Human Services Partnership. In 2005, the joint body of local and regional City and County Commissioners, known as the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency, elected him to serve as chairperson for a year. In September 2008 the joint body of the Tallahassee City Commission and Leon County Commission known as the Blueprint 2000 Intergovernmental Agency elected him to serve as chairperson for a year.
Commissioner Gillum has played a leadership role in several community initiatives including the Landlord Tenant Mediation Program; the Code Enforcement Amnesty Program; Bike-Pedestrian funding, Good Neighbor energy assistance program, Affordable Housing issues and the creation of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Park. He also served as the City's chief negotiator for Fire / EMS consolidation.
In an effort to close the digital divide in Tallahassee, Commissioner Gillum initiated the Digital Harmony Initiative (see video below). Digital Harmony successfully brought together business, civic and educational leaders to provide R. Frank Nims Middle School, an otherwise struggling school, new at-home computers, internet access, and educational learning software for free to all incoming sixth-graders for three years. Through another community partnership, Gillum spearheaded the development of the Palmer Munroe Teen Center. Additionally, he led the initiative to boost economic growth by instituting commercial utility deposit rebates, and seven-day guarantee permitting.
In June 2003, Gillum received the "Emerging Leaders Award" from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (Washington, DC) for educating and motivating young adults to become more politically involved and for being an "invaluable source of guidance and inspiration to this generation of leaders." Ebony magazine's February 2004 edition featured Gillum as one of "The Fast Track 30 Leaders Who are 30 and Under." Tallahassee Community College also spotlighted him in their 4th Annual African-American History Calendar that recognized achievers who have made significant contributions to Leon and surrounding counties. In June 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.
Born on July 26, 1979 in Miami, Gillum was raised in Gainesville as the fifth of seven children born to Frances and Charles Gillum. When he graduated from Gainesville High School in 1998, he was recognized by the Gainesville Sun as one of the city's "Persons of the Year."
Following the 2000 Presidential election, he addressed the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on election violations in the state of Florida. Subsequently, he was instrumental in organizing the historic March on Tallahassee in protest of Governor Jeb Bush's executive order to abolish affirmative action in state university admissions and state contracting. As a result of his advocacy efforts, the Center for Policy Alternatives (Washington, DC) recognized him as the country's top student leader in 2001.
Gillum was very active in FAMU's Student Government Association (SGA), serving as the Senate President, before being elected to SGA President, serving from 2001-02. While in office, he was appointed to the following boards and committees: first student member of the FAMU Board of Trustees; FAMU Presidential Search Committee; the State of Florida Higher Education Funding Advisory Board; and the Leon County Civic Center Authority Board.
Commissioner Gillum's impact spread statewide when he accepted the position of Florida Field Organizer with People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF). In 2002, he organized and led the largest get-out-the-vote campaign in Florida's history, titled "Arrive With 5". In 2003, the Florida Democratic Party recruited Gillum to serve as its Interim Political Director, but his passion for organizing get-out-the-vote campaigns led him back to PFAWF as the statewide Director of the "Arrive With 5" program. Following the 2004 election, Gillum took on another leadership role at PFAWF as National Deputy Director of Young People For, a national campus-based program for emerging progressive leaders, before creating the Young Elected Officials Network in 2006. In 2009, his leadership as National Director of the YEO Network garnered him the position of Director of Youth Leadership Programs for PFAWF which oversees three program areas: Young People For, Young Elected Officials Network, and the Young Professionals Activist network.
Gillum has traveled with two international delegations to engage in dialogue on international issues and forge professional relationships. In February 2007 he participated in a City of Tallahassee Sister City exchange trip with peer City Commission members to Ramat-Hasharon, Israel. In June 2007, Gillum was selected by the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) as a delegate to travel to Egypt and Jordan for a political study program. Both delegations provided him the opportunity to travel within the country and interact with local and national leaders, business representatives, and civic groups. Gillum also hosted an in-bound delegation of elected and political leaders from Japan to the United States for a two-week diplomatic and educational mission.
In addition, Gillum serves on the Board of Directors for The Schott Foundation for Public Education in Cambridge, MA, New World Foundation, and the Opportunity To Learn Action Fund. He completed Harvard Kennedy School’s 2009-summer session of their Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program and is currently enrolled in the Rockwood Yearlong Fellowship for Executive Leaders “Leading From the Inside Out” program. He is a member of Alpha Zeta Chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Incorporated (Boule'), the FAMU National Alumni Association, and Bethel AME Church.
Gillum resides in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife, Rashada Jai “R. Jai” Gillum.
The Digital Harmony Initiative
Other select board/committee memberships include:
Boards and Committees - Current
- Blueprint 2000 Intergovernmental Agency - Chair 2008-2009
- Capital City Chamber
- Community Redevelopment Agency
- Florida League of Cities - Financial Management Investment Trust – Board of Trustee
- Leadership Florida Class XXX
- Leadership Tallahassee Class XXII
Boards and Committees - Former
- Big Bend 2006 Heart Walk - Executive Committee
- Big Bend Community Based Care - Board of Directors
- Capital City Child Care Consortium
- Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency - Chair 2005
- Cultural Resources Commission Ways and Means Committee
- Economic Development Council
- Florida League of Cities
- Keep Tallahassee-Leon County Beautiful - Board of Directors
- Kids Inc. - Board of Directors
- Mary Brogan Museum - Board of Directors
- Riley House Board of Directors - Ex Officio Member
- Whole Child Leon Leadership Council - Board of Directors
- Tiger Bay Club