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Sarasota Friday, Sep. 25, 2020 2 months ago

Sarasota County Charter Review Board District 1: Krista Lohr

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Meet the candidate

Name: Krista Lohr

Age: 45

Family: N/A

Bio: I moved to Sarasota in 1989 and graduated from Sarasota High School. I earned a B.A. in social science from Florida State University and a J.D. from New England School of Law. Currently, I am the chair of the Manatee Sarasota Sierra Club Group, vice chair of the Environmental Caucus of Sarasota County Democrats and a board member of the Democratic Club of Sarasota.

 

Why do you want to serve on the Charter Review Board?

I do not feel represented in our government or listened to by our elected officials. I will be a representative for all the people in Sarasota County on the Charter Review Board, and I will listen to those who have not felt heard by our current elected officials on the Charter Review Board.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities during your term?

  1. Voter education and outreach. As a member of the Charter Review Board, I would advocate to implement a plan for community outreach and educating the voters about the Sarasota County Charter and the CRB. Many voters are unaware of what the charter is, what the CRB is and what the CRB does. I believe that the people's voice is protected by raising awareness of the charter and CRB.
  2. Create a more effective CRB that represents the people/voters of Sarasota County. The CRB in recent years has arguably not been doing its job. I have attended and viewed online several CRB meetings over the past few years and have been extremely disappointed. A few meetings I attended were 30 minutes or less, and one meeting I attended was six minutes start to finish. A board cannot arguably be effective when it meets three times a year for such a brief time. Unfortunately, until we elect new board members to the Charter Review Board who are willing to do the job, the Charter Review Board will remain ineffective.
  3. The Charter Review Board members are currently elected county wide/at large. The charter should be elected by the voters in their own district. The elected officials on the Charter Review Board would be more accountable to the voters if they were elected in single member districts as the Sarasota County Commission is now. I would advocate for this change if elected to the Charter Review Board.

Where do you stand: Should the Charter Review Board be proactive initiating changes to charter, or should the board make recommendations based on voter desires and ideas brought to the board?

The Charter Review Board should be proactive initiating changes to the charter based on public input.

What is your position on turning the Charter Review Board into an appointed position rather than an elected office?

The position of Charter Review Board Member must remain an elected position. The voters have a right to choose their representatives on the Charter Review Board.

What, if anything, in your view needs to be updated/changed in the county charter?

I am very passionate about environmental issues, and that is another reason I decided to run for office. Protecting and preserving our environment and natural resources is deeply connected to other issues that voters are concerned about, such as our quality life and the economy.

I feel that the charter lacks adequate protections for our environment. If elected to the Charter Review Board, I would advocate to explore potential updates or changes to the charter in order to protect our environment and natural resources in Sarasota County. 

The CRB has been discussing changes to the charter amendment process. What’s your position on that? / What are your comments about reforming the CRB, so it mirrors the State Constitutional Revision Commission — appointed members every 10 or 20 years to review the charter, rather than the existing system of elected members who serve four-year terms?

I do not agree with this idea. The Charter Review Board only meets briefly three times a year as it is. Reviewing the charter, proposing an amendment to the charter, public input and discussion of any amendment proposal is something that takes time and would arguably continue over multiple meetings.

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