JAMES GOLDEN, Democrat
FAMILY: Married, Mildred; six children, ages 28 to 41; 14 grandchildren.
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Business Administration, Stetson University; J.D., University of Florida; Master of Divinity, Atlanta University.
PROFESSIONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: U.S. Army veteran. Florida Bar member since 1975. Ordained Methodist minister since 1980. Served two four-year terms on Bradenton City Council. Former Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council secretary/treasurer. Board member of Manatee Glens Hospital. Former Board member of Just For Girls and Meals On Wheels. First African-American Democratic Party nominee in 2010 for 13th Congressional District race.
FUN FACT: Entered college at the age of 14 after completing the 10th grade.
Manatee County has committed $5.1 million through 2018 to subsidize expected new-job creation among Manatee businesses. What is your position on spending tax dollars to subsidize private business?
My position would be dependent upon the proposed size of the subsidy, the projected number of new jobs expected from investing the subsidy and the time required to realize a return to the taxpayer from the new tax revenues generated from the subsidy investment.
Explain how giving some businesses tax breaks and money in exchange for job creation is morally justified when many longtime, taxpaying Manatee County businesses have never received any government funding?
In these challenging times when we are experiencing unemployment levels never seen before locally, statewide and nationally, in my opinion it would be morally unjustified not to consider any reasonable effort to reduce unemployment solely on the grounds that we have never tried a particular solution before now.
What steps would you recommend to improve the economic and business climate in Manatee County?
Before I would propose recommendations for improvement, I would want to have objective proof that improvement is necessary and agreement that improvement is possible through recommendations from the county commission.
Second, I would want to have a full understanding of what has been done by the county commission so far to cause improvement and what level of success has been achieved.
Third, I would want to be aware of what has been rejected by the county commission as proposed solutions for improvement and whether the rationale adopted then is still applicable.
What is your philosophy on the role of the Manatee County Commission and Manatee County government?
Any philosophy on the “role of government” must encompass an appreciation of the uniqueness of the issue under consideration. For example, solving a human resources challenge, accepting a capital improvement recommendation, approving an eminent domain taking, adopting a budget, setting the millage rate, approving a plan for growth management, handling an unfunded mandate from the state, advancing intergovernmental relations all require approaches that defy a “one-size-fits-all” philosophy.
What is your philosophy on taxation?
Government must only collect enough taxes to meet the collective needs of the governed as determined by listening to all the governed to gain an informed understanding of what those collective needs are. If the collective needs are more than the collected taxes, then a decision must be made by government to prioritize those collective needs or alternatively to seek additional revenues to meet them.
Are you willing to take the pledge of the Americans for Tax Reform not to increase taxes if you are elected?
What is your view of population growth and its effects on the county’s economy and quality of life?
I would use the same analytical process I described above re: improving the economic and business climate in the county, to develop an answer to this question.
Where do you think county government could become more efficient and save tax dollars?
An answer to this question would require the same analytical process I described above re: improving the economic and business climate in the county.
What is your position on the Tara Bridge?
I am opposed to the present plans for construction of the Tara Bridge.
If elected, what do you see as your top three priorities?
1) Promoting economic development;
2) improving the quality and quantity of our work force both public and private; and
3) infrastructure revitalization.
What is your vision for Manatee County?
1) To be a strong voice on the county commission by representing the vision for Manatee County as expressed and articulated collectively by the constituents of the district;
2) To be a seasoned voice on the county commission as we cooperatively seek to meet our county’s challenges; and
3) To be a part of civil and collegial discussions on the county commission about how we can continue to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens.
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