Tram Hudson, a Republican, will face Democrat Miglena Entcheva and No Party Afilliation candidate Reid Schwabach in the general election.
Hometown: Montgomery, Ala.
Occupation: Retired Banker
Previous political offices: Former chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, 1998-2004
About: Tramm Hudson is a retired Sarasota banker, U.S. Army officer and community leader who has spent almost 30 years sharing his executive expertise in finance, economic development and strategic planning with a number of organizations in the Sarasota-Manatee region. Hudson has served as chairman of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, trustee of Manatee Community College, chairman of the Out-of-Door Academy, chairman of Committee of 100, chairman of The Glenridge at Palmer Ranch retirement community, and member of the boards of United Way and Sarasota Family YMCA.
He also was chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County from 1998 until 2004. Hudson graduated from Vanderbilt University as a distinguished military graduate. He served as a Cavalry officer in Germany and continued in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. He earned his MBA from Emory University. Married for 32 years and has three adult children and two grand children.
Why do you want to serve on the hospital board?
I have had the privilege of serving on the hospital board for the past two years. I was appointed to fulfill the unexpired term of a former board member. SMH is a critical institution in our community and I want to contribute my time, talent and financial experience to help maintain the quality of health care we enjoy in Sarasota County.
What qualifies you to oversee the fiscal health of the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System?
As a banker, community leader, and active citizen in Sarasota County for the past 30 years, I believe my leadership skills, financial management experience, and insight to the community will help strengthen the board’s oversight of the hospital.
What is your position on how the hospital board should use and manage its taxing authority? Do you have a position on whether the current millage rate should be raised or lowered?
On the board, I have been an advocate for reducing the millage rate, and in fact, we reduced the millage rate for 2016. The board must exercise good financial management of the hospital resources and, to the extent possible, reduce our reliance on tax dollars to meet the health needs of our citizens. My goal is that the tax funds as a percentage of our operating revenue continue to decrease over time.
If elected, what do you believe should be the top priority of the board during your term?
I have two priorities: To continue the delivery of the very best health care services for our citizens and to continue sound financial management of the hospital.
A proposed hospital in Venice is just one of the ways SMH has attempted to grow over the past few years. Do you favor or oppose pursuing a hospital in Venice? Why?
I fully support expanding our services throughout the county. We already have five urgent care centers strategically placed around the county plus an emergency room in North Port. As the county continues to grow, it makes sense to expand in south Sarasota County. Venice is the logical place for it.
What is your position on building a hospital in Sarasota County's largest city, North Port?
We already have expanded services in North Port with a 24-hour emergency room. At this time, I do not believe there is enough medical personnel or population in North Port to support a full-blown hospital in the near term. The citizens of Sarasota County would be better served with a new hospital in the Venice area which is easily accessible by citizens from North Port.
What is your position on doing what Venice and other communities have done — selling and privatizing the hospital system and using the proceeds in a community foundation?
I am opposed to the privatizing of the Sarasota Memorial Health Care system. I believe we are better served as a community owned hospital.