Family: Married for 20 years with two sons and three grandchildren
Hometown: Sharon, Mass.
In Sarasota since: 1994
Mayor Suzanne Atwell was appointed in May to be the mayor of the city of Sarasota for another year.
Those who questioned whether she had what it took to be mayor witnessed a commission voice support for her even hand during difficult budget times.
“It’s a platform to maintain the collegiate and civil momentum this commission has developed,” Atwell said. “It will be nice to hone my skill and be a good ambassador.”
Since Atwell moved to Sarasota in 1994, she’s been a part of a long list of community boards and councils, including: city of Sarasota Human Relations Board, Sarasota County Civic League, Family Law Connection, Coastal Islands Group, Sarasota County Commission on the Status of Women, Downtown Partnership and the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations (CCNA).
Atwell sees her commission term as the ultimate in community service.
“It’s the culmination of 15 years of investment in this city,” she says. “I’m taking this on because I love my city. It makes sense to me.”
Although she’s only run for office twice in Sarasota, Atwell is no political novice.
In fact, she ran for office at 28 years old, albeit a smaller office.
She ran for community library trustee in Foxborough, Mass. And lost to a woman who was in her 80s at the time, Atwell said.
After moving to Sarasota, she helped on the campaigns of Jan Schneider, Keith Fitzgerald, Kelly Kirschner and Adam Tebrugge.
Of the six previous campaigns with which she’s been involved, only two have turned into victories. But Atwell says that’s not exactly a bad thing.
“I took more from the losses,” she says. “You learn to put your all into a campaign. You learn more about the community. You learn from your mistakes. Despite the losses, I keep plugging away.”
While some criticize whether a Bird Key resident has her pulse on the entire community, Atwell maintains she knows more about the communities of Newtown, Park East, Amaryllis Park and other Sarasota communities than she does about Bird Key.
“I may be a resident of Bird Key, but I’m a student of every neighborhood in Sarasota,” Atwell said. “I don’t have to live in one of those neighborhoods to know about them.”
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- This is all about the lady who brought you those parking meters which almost destroyed our downtown. Elect her again, and watch those meters reappear as the infrastruture for those meters has never been removed.
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