Sarasota Mayor Shannon Snyder filed as a candidate in the race for the District 2 County Commission seat yesterday, making him the third person and second sitting city commissioner to enter the field.
This morning, Snyder also filed his letter of resignation with the city, effective Nov. 18 — the day he would assume his new position, were he elected. Snyder said the idea to run came together quickly and recently. He ultimately made his decision about a week ago.
“I'm used to making those critical decisions,” Snyder said regarding the swiftness of the process. “You have a set of evaluations, you make the decision, and you move.”
Snyder was elected to serve as the city’s District 3 representative in 2011, and was frequently a dissenting voice during his time on the commission. He said his time with the city has given him valuable experience, but that he believed the county position offered him the opportunity to tackle bigger issues that mattered to more people. A city resident, Snyder said he was interested in serving all of his potential constituents, and that he was familiar with the entire county thanks to his 25 years of experience with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
A major factor in deciding to run was the firing of county ethics officer Steve Uebelacker, which he believes staff handled poorly. Still, his primary interest in serving on the County Commission pertains to less sensational things such as road conditions, which he feels significantly impact residents’ lives.
“It’s common sense stuff that isn't real exciting, but it’s the stuff people are talking about,” Snyder said.
If elected, Snyder said he would continue to advocate against raising taxes and for manageable growth within the county. As a city commissioner, Snyder has frequently pushed for increased consolidation between the city and county governments. He said that’s a cause he would bring to the county table, and that it makes sense to encourage regional economic unity when it’s viable.
“We compete with everyone else,” Snyder said. “It's not as parochial as it used to be. We have to get along, and we have to compete together.”
Snyder will be running against City Commissioner Paul Caragiulo and city resident Pete Theisen, who announced their candidacy for the District 2 seat last year.
He knows his blunt approach frequently makes him the target of eye-rolls at City Hall, but Snyder believes his style, if lacking some grace, will appeal to voters throughout the county over the course of the election.
“When people realize they can actually come to me, talk to me about what's going on and their issues — that's what I bring to the table,” Snyder said.
Contact David Conway at firstname.lastname@example.org.