ELECTION 2010: Manatee County Commission

 

ELECTION 2010: Manatee County Commission

 

Date: October 27, 2010
by: Pam Eubanks | News Editor

 
 

Incumbent Carol Whitmore will face challenger Sundae Knight for the at-large seat on the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners.

Carol Whitmore 
Age: 55
Family: Married to Dr. Andre Renard; has one grown daughter with one grandchild and three step-children with six grandchildren
Hometown: Born in Detroit Mich.; lived in Farmington and Dearborn Heights, Mich. until 14 years old
Education: MCC graduate with an associate science degree
Career: Certified registered nurse; previously a certified health-care risk manager
 
What is the biggest challenge the county commission faces currently, and what are your solutions?
Unemployment and the budget. The county needs to push economic development and look at more incentives to attract new business, as well as incentives to keep the businesses we have that are thinking of leaving or just need some professional help.

Sports are sprouting in East County, which may be a hidden jewel to put people back to work. The rowing across the street from Manatee County in Lakewood Ranch and the soccer fields that (Schroeder-Manatee Ranch) is opening up may give us the diversification that we need. Tourism is up in Manatee County. These sporting events will put heads in beds, keep our restaurants open and give exposure to this county. I have been very active in working with Port Manatee to turn it in a new direction with Panama Canal opening in the next few years.

The budget has been reduced $122 million in four years. Twenty million more (in cuts) is projected for this next budget. We need to look hard at all services and programs anywhere we can to cut without affecting services to the citizens.

What is the best way to manage growth, particularly in the East County?
(Schroeder-Manatee Ranch) has done what not many communities can say they have done. They have planned and provided the infrastructure for their growth before the first house was built. SMR is regarded as one of the best-planned communities because of this. As a past administrative staff member at Manatee Memorial in the 1980s, I knew that long-range plans are for 50,000 citizens in the Lakewood Ranch area. Planned, methodical growth, with support development for the residences, is what the Lakewood Ranch area has done and done well.
 
As a member of the commission, how will you stay in touch with your constituents?
As an at-large commissioner, you must commit 100% to the citizens of Manatee County. As your current commissioner, I have done that. I have quit my job as a nurse and office manager to represent the citizens. Whoever thinks this position is part-time is sadly mistaken. I stay in touch by being out in the community.
 
As an at-large commissioner, how do you view your role in serving the community?
My role is to represent all citizens of Manatee County. I try to stay in touch by volunteering at the Homeless One Stop Center and attending as many community functions as I can. My role is really to serve my citizens.
 
Some residents argue that many members of the commission are being “bought” by developers. How would you respond to that?
The citizens of Manatee County can judge. I have been fair, open and maintained an open-door policy to my citizens. I hope that a commissioner will vote on issues on the information given to them. I do realize that this does not happen with some politicians. I don’t feel I owe anyone anything. Last year, a relative came before the commission for a very hot issue. The citizens spoke, and I voted against the project because it did not belong in the neighborhood presented to us. I do not support a new Tara bridge. I have not supported the bridge because of the cost and citizen opposition for the past four years. If the citizens supported it and funding could come from someone other than the county, I would reconsider. Twenty-five percent of my contributions in the last cycle came from the development community and 75% came from teachers, boat captains, physicians, retirees, etc.
 
What strengths or skills would you bring to the board to benefit Manatee County residents?
I bring knowledge that has been gained over the past four years and my relationships with the Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria, Bradenton and Palmetto (officials). I attend city meetings regularly. As a former mayor, I do understand my role is to set policy and not administrate.
(I also bring) my professionalism and style at the dais, my knowledge in the healthcare field — I have been appointed by the commission to represent them with the new residency program starting at Manatee Memorial Hospital and the Level II trauma center opening at Blake — and my interpersonal skills and being able to solve problems.


Sundae Lynn Knight
Age: 39
Family: Single with one child
Hometown: Moved around a lot as a child of a military family. Lived in Bradenton since 2005.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in civic engineering from the University of Central Florida; associate’s degree in construction management from the Community College of the Air Force; associates of arts degree from Okaloosa-Walton; and journeyman’s degree in carpentry from Berufbildenescheule Bitburg
Career: Civil engineer and certified energy manager

What is the biggest challenge the county commission faces currently, and what are your solutions?
The biggest challenge Manatee County has right now is getting job diversification. Right now, the majority of jobs in the county are related to tourism and construction. Our manufacturing base has been leaving, so one of our biggest challenges is to reverse that trend and get more manufacturing jobs to move back to Manatee County. My platform is to bring green energy jobs to Manatee County.

What is the best way to manage growth, particularly in the East County?
I think the best way to manage growth in the East County is to make sure it’s sustainable growth – that it doesn’t outpace the market, which has happened recently and created a real estate bubble and lowered home values for everyone. (We should) encourage multiple use communities, where businesses are integrated with affordable housing.

As a member of the commission, how will you stay in touch with your constituents?
The best way to reach me is e-mail and, of course, phone calls. I think that using technology to its fullest advantage is the best way to stay in contact and resolve issues in compliance with Sunshine laws.

As an at-large commissioner, how do you view your role in serving the community?
As an at large commissioner, it’s to work together with commissioners that have a district to assist them with resolving issues their constituents may have and also to be an alternative for constituents who are not pleased with the way their commissioner (is handling something).

Some residents argue that many members of the commission are being “bought” by developers. How would you respond to that?
I haven’t had a single dime donated to my campaign by developers. Twenty-five percent of my opponent’s campaign has been financed by developers and their interested parties. She claims it doesn’t influence her vote. We’re always taught in the (military) service that appearances are just as important. If you want to keep your nose clean, you have to be aware that even if you aren’t doing something wrong, it’s as bad as doing something wrong.

What strengths or skills would you bring to the board to benefit Manatee County residents?
I really believe I have skills and knowledge to bring to the county commission that my opponent doesn’t have. I have the analytical skills of a professional engineer and a passion for the environment. I’m a certified energy manager. I have experience in working in all levels of federal and county government. I’ve worked for the V.A. I’ve worked for the Air Force. I’ve worked for Sarasota County. I worked in land development services, transportation planning. I worked for a consultant for the U.S. Postal Service for HUD. When it comes down to it, I’ve seen the good, the bad and ugly in all bureaucratic process. I’d like to improve the bureaucratic processes in Manatee County and make them more efficient and more responsive to the needs of the citizens. The county facilities could be more (energy) efficient and save money and bring green energy jobs to Manatee County.
 

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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • I met Carole at a Tea Party meeting at Mixon Fruit Farm just before the
    election. She left us with assurance that she was a Conservative. Not
    knowing her, this mornings paper tells me otherwise. Mr. Klement is
    using the "good ole' boy system to make his $80,000.00 a year. I agree with Joe and the others who support him. I haven't always been a supporter of him but, he's right on target this time along with the rest of his votes in this mornings paper. Sorry Carole, what qualifications has a liberal newspaper editor got anyhow for this job. I have lived here since 1972 and the mullet wrapper has never been in tune with the community especially Mr. Klement. We found out how valuable he was when a local got him placed on the Public Service Commission so when he arrived back in Manatee County he visits his friends for a job and was hired without any support. Ask Mr. Baaker. Go! Joe.
    Doug Stapleton
  •  
  • Douglas Stapleton
    Thu 13th Jan 2011
    at 5:31pm
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