Manatee County Voters’ Guide for Candidates in the General Election, November 3, 2020

Featuring the background and viewpoints of candidates in the following elections

Anthony Eldon (Dem)
State Senate District 21
Age 23
Education Social Science Education B.S. Entrepreneurship Cert.
Hometown Bradenton, Florida
Address 6560 Anchor Loop, APT# 305, Bradenton, Florida 34212
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tonyforflorida21
Twitter @tonyforflorida
Candidate Phone 813-485-6691
Campaign Website http://tonyforflorida.com

What Legislative actions would you propose to ensure ballot security, improve voter access, and promote voter participation in elections?

The first thing I would do is anything in my power to get rid of the poll tax implemented by Ron DeSantis against returning citizens. I would also like to push for automatic registration at 18.

Anthony Eldon

What additional actions, if any, should the Legislature take to recover Florida’s jobs, small businesses, and the state’s economy impacted by COVID19 virus? Please explain your position.

The state should work together with the MANY small business accelerators and incubators across the state to push out state backed loans and grants. When it comes specifically to increasing state revenue to afford this and other expenditures, the state should ENFORCE it’s online sales tax collection. This could essentially give the state over 300 million in additional state funds that could go to revitalization.

Anthony Eldon

What policies and/or legislation would you introduce to best address racial inequity in Florida’s criminal justice system?

As a black man I think I am in a special place to call for legislation on this issue. A few things that we can do is get rid of stand your ground/citizen’s arrest laws. In addition to this, we can enact various criminal justice reforms such as Second Look Sentencing, Gain Time, and MEDICAL RELEASE/AGING PRISONER RELEASE. to name a few. I believe another look should also be taken at mandatory minimums.

Anthony Eldon

What legislation and/or policies should the state pursue in respect to healthcare access for all Floridians? Please address access to reproductive healthcare as well in your answer.

The state should accept federal funds to expand Medicare, which would cover an additional 830,000 Floridians, WHILE ALSO saving the state almost a billion dollars over a 5 year period. As it pertains to reproductive rights, I believe as a man it isn’t my place to tell a woman what to do with their body, and so I will protect a women’s right to decide their own decisions.

Anthony Eldon

What steps should the State take, if any, to protect Florida’s ecosystems, water resources, and coastal communities?

The state should take as many proactive steps as possible to protect our environment. To list a few, buying land for the purpose of conservation, putting regulations on fertilizers and pesticides that runoff into our waters, upgrading and maintaining major wastewater treatment facilities, best practices for septic tank disposal, the list goes on and on.

What changes to Florida’s public education system, pre-K through grade 12, would you support if any?

WE NEED TO SPEND MORE ON OUR KIDS. Florida spends more than 20,000$ per inmate per year, but only 8,500 (approx.) per student per year. This shows how little we care about our kids if we spend more than double on inmates than we do our kids. We rank among the lowest of states across the nation when it comes to per student spending. The Voucher system should also be restricted or abolished as it no longer serving those it was originally meant to serve, and it diverts funds from already underfunded public schools.

Anthony Eldon

Do you oppose or support state laws that ban assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines for civilian use?Support.

What are the two most important challenges facing Florida and, if elected, what actions will you take to address them within your first six months in office?

It is hard to pinpoint two things, but when it comes to what I believe can be done the fastest and as such deserves immediate attention is education and environment reforms.

Anthony Eldon
Dominique Shauntel Brown (Dem)
Manatee County Commission District 1
Mailing Address: 3643 Cortez Road West Suite 100 Bradenton, FL 34210
Campaign Phone: (941) 251-6024
Website: http://www.VoteDBrown.com
Email: VoteDominiqueBrown@gmail.com
Facebook: Dominique Brown for Manatee County Commissioner District 1
Instagram: @VoteDominiqueBrown

What qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?

I bring assertiveness, consistency, integrity, accountability to this position. My past experience makes me the most qualified candidate for the District 1 seat. I have a proven public service record: USAF – Combat Veteran, former prosecutor and public defender. In addition, I’m already a licensed attorney in FL, NC, D.C. and the Middle and Southern District of Florida. I also know how to budget and run a business, I own two small businesses in Manatee County.

Attorney Dominique Brown

Why are you running for this office?

I’m running for the District 1 seat because Manatee County is home for me and I am Focused on Our Future. Manatee County needs leaders who care more about uniting our communities and not tearing us down or pitting us against each other. When elected to the District 1 seat, I will zealously advocate for everyone, not just the few, and I will be a voice for the overlooked and voiceless. Representation Matters – my platform is all inclusive – for all residents of District 1.

Attorney Dominique Brown

What do you see as the most important challenge facing Manatee County? How do you plan to handle this challenge?

The most important challenge facing Manatee County is ensuring that our growth and development can meet the needs of our lack of infrastructure. Our roadways need the most attention, but we also need to consider employment opportunities and commercial developments. We have many houses being built, but where will the people work? If they can’t work within the District, they’ll be utilizing the roadways. I plan to work with the members of the BOCC to ensure that we address these concerns.

Attorney Dominique Brown
Charles Williams, Jr. (Dem)
Manatee County Supervisor of Elections
Mailing Address: 5519 70th Dr East Ellenton, FL 34222
Campaign Phone: (941) 812-2195
Email: pastor.kingofkings@gmail.com
Facebook: Minister Charles Williams

Describe your background and qualifications to be Supervisor of Elections.

Based on my experience as a pastor and supervisor in various areas of past employment I bring many years of proficiency to oversee and guide the staff of the office of Supervisor of Elections.

Charles Williams, Jr.

Why are you running for this office?

I see a shortfall in the area of community outreach to all areas of our county with regard to motivating and encouraging all of our citizenry to register and vote. I believe with my communication skills and pastoral background I can achieve the objective of enhancing voter registration and voter turn- out.

Charles Williams, Jr.

How do you propose meeting the challenges to election safety, security and accessibility faced in these current times?

I will work tirelessly to ensure that the residents of Manatee County can trust my leadership. I will make sure while in office to conduct, with fairness, all public elections in Manatee County. Get people to register and vote. Issue voter registration cards in a timely manner. Eliminate all voter fraud by removing voters from the registered voter rolls who no longer live in Florida, deceased individuals; or any other legitimate reason that disqualifies an individual from being able to vote in Florida. Send advanced notices of all upcoming elections to voters who are overseas, in the military, or who request notification and make sure their vote is counted. Change information on registered voter rolls when a change is received (Name, Address, Party affiliation). Accept mail ballot requests and receive and verify mail ballots for all. Perform all other duties of the Supervisor of Elections. In addition, I will make myself and my staff available to speak to schools and civic groups.

Charles Williams, Jr.
Herold Byrd (Dem)
City of Bradenton Mayor
Mailing Address: 1502 14th Street East Bradenton, FL 34208
Campaign Phone: (941) 803-0685
Website: http://voteharoldbyrd.com
Email: hebyrdjr@voteharoldbyrd.com
Facebook: @voteharoldbyrd
Instagram: @hebyrdjr

What qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?

Being an elected municipal official in Bradenton has been a rewarding and enriching experience. This commitment has led me to improve my knowledge and skills in areas such as public policy and administration. In an effort to be better prepared as a decision maker I have worked to obtain certification by The Florida Redevelopment Association as a Certified Redevelopment Professional. To compliment a law degree, I obtained a Masters of Public Administration degree focusing on public policy and public administration.

Herold Byrd

Why are you running for this position?

The lessons taught by my parents encouraged public service and participation in the community. The desire to serve and contribute is the primary reason for running. Over the last year it became apparent that the needs of all sectors of our community were not considered as important by the executive branch. The commitment to public services applies throughout the entire City of Bradenton. It is my dream that Bradenton become more inclusive with all residents and not just some.

Herold Byrd

What do you feel is the biggest challenge your community faces? How do you plan to handle this challenge?

We are facing tough times and will be facing financial and economic challenges that will require competent leadership. During the economic downturn I have had the opportunity to represent Bradenton and made tough decisions. I feel that the city will need to address the following issues in order handle current challenges.

Transportation and infrastructure challenges will need to be addressed. Focus on the redevelopment and revitalization of our neighborhoods. This will include housing rehabilitation, the establishment of achievable objectives for attainable housing, and homeless issues.

Work to provide and allocate the tools and resources for the protection of our citizens. Law enforcement reforms will be necessary to provide more trust.

Herold Byrd
Dimitrie Denis
City of Bradenton Mayor
Mailing Address: 133 11th Ave East Bradenton, FL 34208
Campaign Phone: (941) 357-3753
Website: http://Denis4mayor.com
Email: denis4mayor@gmail.com
Facebook: Dimitrie Denis
Instagram: Dimitrie_Denis_4_Mayor

What qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?

The qualities, experience, and skill that I will bring to the City of Bradenton Mayor position is a MBA in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University, BA in Criminal Justice, AA in Business Administration. I am a pro-business constitutionalist that believes in fiscal responsibility with businesses throughout the city. My skills that I will bring to this position are transparency, accountability, and creative technology solutions to the city of Bradenton.

Dimitrie Denis

Why are you running for this position?

I am the candidate that Bradenton residents need right now. To many times the middle class family is being overlooked and short changed by corporate America and social elites. Wages are stagnant, while college students are over burdened with high tuition fees. It’s time that the city of Bradenton is represented by a true blue collar American, who is not disconnected from reality. We want to balance our budget here in the city as we are facing short falls due to COVID-19, spur the growth of the city until we can tackle our traffic crisis. Lastly, we want to take power from the developers and into the hands of the people who are frustrated with high taxes and depleting infrastructure that keep neighborhoods flooded. #grassroots.

Dimitrie Denis

What do you feel is the biggest challenge your community faces? How do you plan to handle this challenge?

The biggest challenge the City of Bradenton currently faces is government transparency and accountability. There are many constituents that feel like their voices are not heard. This is a detrimental to the city and any community to feel that way. I plan to change that by actually being a “visible” Mayor within all our community’s in the City of Bradenton. I want to represent a future city that all the residents thrive in. That I believe is the root of the past problems here. Once we nurture the root, we can then begin to structure our local economy by way of jobs or trades. We then can focus our attention on revitalizing deteriorated infrastructure, attainable/affordable housing, traffic issues, taxes, new businesses. Vote Denis 4 Mayor!

Dimitrie Denis
Pamela Coachman
Bradenton City Council Ward 5
Mailing Address: 1038 3rd St W Bradenton, FL 34205
Campaign Phone: (941) 932-1488
Website: http://votepamward5.com
Email: pam@votepamward5.com
Facebook: Pam Coachman for Bradenton City Council-ward 5
Instagram: pamforward5

What qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?

I’ve worked in speech & language pathology, medical and public schools, and a juvenile pretrial intervention program. These experiences have taught me that active listening, collaboration, smart planning, & resourcefulness are some of the qualities needed in an elected official and I bring those to this position. Many problems facing the city require multiple entities to solve. Therefore, it’s important that an official bring people together, facilitate a plan, and build consensus to act. Additionally, I have spent many years being an advocate & caregiver for others, so I know how to relate to others and show empathy for people and their circumstances, which is truly needed in these times.

Pamela Coachman

Why are you running for this office?

I’m running for Bradenton City Council to be the voice of the residents of Ward 5, to enhance communication between local government and residents, and to promote smart growth that will encourage people to move here but to also provide the quality of life our current residents desire. I am the best candidate to promote progress and equity for not only Ward 5, but the entire city of Bradenton.

Pamela Coachman

What do you feel is the most important challenge facing your city? How do you plan to meet this challenge?

Communication is the most important challenge facing the city of Bradenton. Many citizens feel as though, if they’re not at the decision table, they are on the menu. My goal would be to improve communication between residents, city council, all city departments, and law enforcement. I would host periodic pop-up meetings in the Ward, in person and virtually. It’s important to meet people where they are and there’s a need for more external opportunities for residents to engage with their elected and city officials. The enhanced communication will help solve the many issues of trust and exclusivity that is felt by many residents.

Pamela Coachman
Keenan Wooten
Bradenton City Council Ward 5
Mailing Address: 1915 11th Ave E Bradenton, FL 34208
Campaign Phone: (941) 500-2409
Website: http://votewooten.com
Email: keenanwooten@yahoo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/votewooten/

What qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?

I am a native of Bradenton and a product of the Manatee County School District, graduating from Southeast High School. My educational background includes a B.A. in Business Admin with a minor in Marketing from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2005, and a Graduate Certificate in Leadership in Developing Human Resources, M.A. in Adult Education from University of South Florida in 2009. I am dynamic community representative who serves on various credible boards, such as Step Up Suncoast, MCFCU & Sarasota-Manatee MPO Advisory. I have won several community awards from organizations that highlight my achievements in our community. I understand our City budget and the organizational structure, which makes me the best candidate.

Keenan Wooten

Why are you running for this position?

I am running for Bradenton City Council Ward 5 to bring to this seat revitalized energy, a greater focus and more connection with the rest of the city. Last election cycle in 2016 we fell short by less than 1%. Walking neighborhoods, raising money, gaining endorsements were all things that I took on enthusiastically. Currently, my goals for the City of Bradenton still remain, which is to “Refocus, Revitalize & Reconnect” in a time where trust is at an all time low.

Keenan Wooten

What do you feel is the biggest challenge your community faces? How do you plan to handle this challenge?

+Economic Development: Planning for the Future

*Attract businesses in areas with higher paying jobs so our children will also want to raise their families in Bradenton.

+Infrastructure: Traffic and Flooding

*Identify heavy flooding areas and provide relief to residents and businesses by fighting for state and federal funding.

*Make traffic flow changes that can be done now, instead of waiting for the new controversial Desoto Bridge, which will take decades to complete.

*Coordinate with neighborhoods to identify problem areas.

+Smart Growth

*Create forward-thinking planning to preserve the unique aspects of our city as our city changes.

*Thoroughly vet all projects and approve only those which make sense for the entire city of Bradenton.

Keenan Wooten
Charles Smith
City of Palmetto Mayor
Mailing Address: 1701 4th Ave W Palmetto, FL 34221
Campaign Phone: (941) 803-6054
Website: http://Charlesbsmith4palmayor.org
Email: Cbsmith4palmar@gmail.com
Facebook: Charles B Smith

What qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?

My family has been in business for over 50 years. We own several businesses, Manatee Harvesting Co, inc and Smith Global Enterprises, inc just to name a few. We have employed hundreds of employees. As a 13-year-old child I used to assist my father and staff with the payroll. My experience as a former Manatee County Commissioner, Vice-Mayor of Palmetto and City Commissioner gives me budgetary experience.

Charles B Smith

Why are you running for this office?

In the city of Palmetto we have a broken system that has destroyed the quality of life. We have 22 percent poverty and a police department that has unionized. We have a police department building that was voted to be built some eight years ago, and this administration still hasn’t broken ground. Nothing gets done! This administration has also recommended, with the majority approving, the highest water usage tax increase in the history of the city. Ten consecutive years and we are only in year 1.

Charles B Smith

What do you feel is the most important challenge facing your city? How do you plan to meet this challenge?

Palmetto doesn’t have a hotel within the city, losing millions in tourist revenue. We are bombarded with $13 million debt.

Charles B Smith
Sheldon Jones
City of Palmetto Commissioner at Large 1
Mailing Address: 2212 14th St. W Palmetto, FL 34221
Campaign Phone: (941) 580-1058
Website: http://www.sheldonjones2020.com
Email: sheldonpostal@live.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sheldon-E-Jones-100410658007253/

What qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?

The qualities I bring to this position are simple, they include being a dedicated servant of all constituents, remaining fair and balanced during all decisions that will impact the current and future status of Palmetto, and I am very transparent with everything I do during my tenure on the Commission. The experience I hold is pretty diverse, from being a life-long resident of Palmetto, former small business owner, and the service to this beautiful country in which I will continue to provide when I have the honor of being elected. The skills I bring to this position are much of what I have already stated but the biggest skill I pride myself on is being a man of faith in knowing that great things await the beautiful City of Palmetto.

Sheldon Jones

Why are you running for this office?

I am running for office because we need an elected official who lives, works, and understands the challenges that the City of Palmetto faces. For far too long, we have remained stagnant in many areas while other surrounding cities are growing and attracting more residents. I am also running because our residents deserve to have a voice in local government and that is who I am determined to be. We need smart growth!

What do you feel is the most important challenge facing your city? How do you plan to meet this challenge?

The most important facing the City of Palmetto is being able to attract and retain small businesses to the area. I plan to meet this challenge by closely working with the CRA department and get them involved with repairs on empty buildings and beautification projects. I also plan to work with my colleagues on incentives and tax breaks that will not only attract small businesses to the area but also help retain them over the years. The goal is to attract more people to the City of Palmetto and give it a modern face lift, while maintaining the small city feel.

Sheldon Jones

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