Meet the candidate.
These questionnaire responses were originally published in July for the primary election.
Name: James Satcher
Family: I am blessed to have my beautiful wife Monica and our five children, who’s ages range from 12 years to 18 months old.
Bio: James Satcher is a devoted husband, father of five and minister with hands on experience making positive changes in Manatee County. Satcher leads a successful nonprofit with more than two decades of ministry that has provided aid to orphans, single mothers and the homeless. His nonprofit provided aid after Hurricane Irene, numerous tornadoes and the earthquake in Haiti. Partnering with local Manatee County agencies, Satcher and his nonprofit have helped the homeless and drug addicted become strong members of society. Satcher and his wife are active in the fight against sex trafficking and have rescued several women out of modern-day slavery. According to Satcher, “These experiences have given me the ability to work under extreme pressure and develop effective solutions when lives are on the line.”
Satcher has a bachelor’s degree and a pastoral studies degree and is a 2L law student at Stetson University. He is a member of President Donald Trump’s Faith Advisory Board, rated highly qualified by the Christian Family Coalition and endorsed by Women for Trump Florida, Tea Party Manatee, Manatee Trump Committee and the Manatee-Sarasota Republican Assembly.
Why are you running for office?
I have five children to raise here in District 1, so I am invested in the success of our schools, the safety of our neighborhoods, the beauty of our environment and the prosperity of our businesses.
If elected, what will be your top three priorities during your term?
- I will work to get the sheriff the resources he and his department need to keep us safe. We need to defend the police, not defund the police;
- I will work hard to bring much-needed and long-delayed roads and infrastructure to District 1; and
- As a lifetime conservative leader, I am staunchly pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. I will represent District 1 with values such as low taxes, limited government and full support for Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
What role should the county play to increase the amount of workforce/affordable housing?
As a conservative, I approve of lower taxes and less regulation. The government should not dole out rewards or pick winners and losers, but it is wise to offer less red tape and lower fees to businesses working to bring affordable housing to the area.
What do you think the county’s role is in stimulating business in the aftermath of COVID-19?
The county should follow the lead of DeSantis and Trump. Personal responsibility and safety should be encouraged, but over-reach, such as curfews on law-abiding citizens, should be resisted.
What is your position on impact fees? Should they be raised? Why? Why not?
I am not in favor of raising the tax burden on businesses or citizens, especially with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
In what areas of county government spending do you think the county could cut expenses without hurting services?
I would like to see county endeavors, such as the Convention Center and MCAT, operating with a higher return on investment for tax payers. I also want to look closely at vacant and underused county buildings and properties that could be sold to spur local businesses and lower our maintenance costs. Finally, I think each service the county provides should be analyzed to see if a public/private partnership could provide better service for the same or less money.
Would you support an increase in the millage rate to provide more services for county residents?
I am not in favor of raising taxes. I believe we can provide the services residents need without raising the millage rate.
The Legislature has enacted laws to reduce nutrient runoff. And local governments are expected to do their part. The county staff has introduced charging a new stormwater management fee to all property owners. What’s your position?
I am against a new tax for Manatee residents. Manatee County should have taken steps to solve this problem along our roads and neighborhoods years ago. Manatee County needs a comprehensive plan for stormwater issues with a reasonable price tag that does not burden citizens with a new tax. Florida voters recently chose to forego a tax break that the county had planned on passing for years. I would like to consider using a portion of those resulting reserves to improve stormwater management.
If elected, what will be your priorities on roads and transportation? How should the county commission address road capacity to handle future growth?
District 1 has provided the bulk of the growth for Manatee County; it is time we get the bulk of the road and infrastructure improvements as well. I will look to partner with the state for safety and efficiency improvements on our state roads in the county. I will also be willing to think outside of the box to get our county roads operating smoothly. District 1 has provided the bulk of the growth for Manatee County; it is time we get the bulk of the infrastructure improvements as well.
Vacation rentals: How should they be regulated — locally, or by the state? And if locally, by the county or municipalities? How would you regulate them?
As a matter of principle, I would regulate them as little as possible. Currently, in Manatee County we have a tourist tax, or resort fee, of 5% that Manatee county has charged on rentals since the 1980s. This is in addition to Florida’s 6% sales tax on rentals. In 2019 Manatee County reported that property management companies were already remitting the tourist tax to the county on their properties. This seems like a sufficient, if not excessive, tax burden on property owners. I would not raise taxes or regulations in this area.