Fire commissioner begins state office run

Randy Cooper WMFR
Randy Cooper

West Manatee Fire Rescue District Commissioner Randy Cooper is stepping into a larger political arena – running for state office.

Cooper seeks community support in his bid for the state House of Representatives District 71 seat. He announced his intent March 30 to run for state office in 2018.

District 71 stretches from western Manatee County to northwest Sarasota County and includes both Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island.

“My goal is to give my community an unwavering voice in Tallahassee,” Cooper said in a press release. “I am a fiscal conservative and political moderate who will always put the interests of community and local businesses above politics.”

Cooper is a registered democrat who has served since 2008 as a fire commissioner. He was re-elected to the post in 2016. His current term expires in 2020.

Cooper remains committed to the fire district. Continuing as a commissioner is a priority, as long as his campaign for the House seat doesn’t interfere. He expects to resign from the fire commission in June 2018 to fully commit himself to the run for the state seat.

“I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of years,” Cooper said. “Like many people, I am frustrated that politicians are listening to special interests and not their constituents, especially with issues like the vacation rental ordinances and Anna Maria Island.”

Cooper has deep personal ties to the southwest Florida area, having served in the Florida National Guard for 11 years. Also, he served as a volunteer firefighter in Hillsborough County. Cooper and his wife, Alba, married in 2007 on Anna Maria Island, after relocating to the area in 2003.

Now that his candidacy has been officially announced, Cooper is taking the next steps toward Tallahassee. Primarily, he’s beginning the quest to gain the 1,101 voter signatures required for candidate qualification.