By Jack Clarke
Can you name your city commissioners? Have you made the effort to speak in person to any of them?
Many of your elected officials are open to your ideas and thoughts, many less so. This is not exclusive to Bradenton Beach or our other Island cities, but as famous congressman Tip O’ Neill once said, “All politics is local.”
I am a resident and recovering politician in Bradenton Beach. It was my honor and privilege to serve as commissioner, vice mayor and, briefly, as the mayor of the city.
Island politics are tumultuous at best. But for a person who really wants to make a difference – that over-used phrase – 2018 is the year. There is little reward for the many hours of hard work commissioners do, except for the feeling of accomplishment and the satisfaction of service to community and neighbors.
City commissioners make many decisions that impact daily life Bradenton Beach, including how torn up driveways will look after the county’s force main project is completed, how your tax dollars are used and which projects will be pursued using those funds.
I’m not flying any flag, supporting any candidate or asking for your vote. I’m only asking that you vote, know the issues and consider placing your own name on the ballot. With the recent elimination of ward boundaries, you are eligible to run for a commission seat regardless of where you live in the city, as long as you’ve been a city resident for at least one year. Details on how to qualify as a commission candidate are available at the three city clerks’ offices or at the Supervisor of Elections Office website, www.votemanatee.com.
If you stay on the sidelines, your voice will not be heard.
Bradenton Beach resident Jack Clarke served as vice mayor and mayor of Bradenton Beach from 2013-2015.