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East County Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 1 month ago

Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh announces she will run for reelection

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Baugh joins former county administrator Ed Hunzeker in the race for the District 5 seat.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

As Lakewood Ranch's Vanessa Baugh heads toward the final year of her second term as Manatee County's District 5 commissioner, she is seeing some breakthroughs in very important issues concerning the citizens.

"I think we've made changes and have had great results," Baugh said minutes after she filed to run for reelection on Thursday afternoon. "I want to finish what I have started. We will see this administration grow."

Baugh said a key example has been the hard work needed to increase funding for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office so it can deal with the area's booming growth. "The Sheriff (Rick Wells) has been battling to get the personnel he needs," she said. 

She said her solid relationship with the Florida Department of Transportation has resulted in a positive response to citizens' requests to have safer roadways. She said it is imperative for the county to continue to work with the FDOT to make the State Road 70 and State Road 64 corridors safer.

"I can't stand the thought of losing another human being in a needless traffic accident," said Baugh, who is on the Sarasota/Manatee Metro Planning Organization Advisory Council.

Besides identifying and improving problem areas, Baugh has pushed to have State Road 70 widened from Lorraine Road through County Road 675, a project that has begun. Baugh said she eventually hopes to see S.R. 70 as a four-lane road all the way across the state.

Besides being on the MPO Advisory Council, Baugh is chairman of the Port Authority, she is on the Tourist Development Council, and was selected to serve on the Florida Association of Counties Water Policy committee.

President Donald Trump had noticed her contributions and invited her in March when he visited Lake Okeechobee to study the effects its polluted waters have on Florida. "Water quality is such a massive problem for us," Baugh said.

Besides those issues, Baugh said she wants to see through the construction of Lakewood Ranch's new library adjacent to the Premier Sports Campus.

"We need that new library," she said. "It has to be done as soon as possible. I have been asking for this for seven years and we finally seeing it come to fruition."

Baugh will be opposing former Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker, who filed Oct. 7.

"Manatee County is finally at a point where we are moving forward and getting things accomplished," Baugh said. "We're making improvements in public safety and critical infrastructure, We're protecting our natural resources and waterways and being fiscally conservative with taxpayer dollars. We still have lots to accomplish to keep Manatee County moving in the right direction. We need to focus on lowering taxes and fees on families and small businesses and keep big government out of the way of free enterprise.

"I am a proven conservative who has and will continue to work hard every day to ensure Manatee County continues to be a wonderful place to live."

Baugh and her husband, Don, have owned Vanessa Fine Jewelry since 1999. They have four children and 10 grandchildren.

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