Meet the candidate: Kim Rash

Meet the Candidate: Kim Rash
Kim Rash

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioner Kim Rash is no stranger to city politics. After volunteering in and around his neighborhood and building fences for the city, he took the plunge and was elected for his first term as city commissioner in 2018. Now he’s hoping to earn a second term on the dais in the 2020 election.

Rash has been a Holmes Beach homeowner for 20 years and a full-time resident for 14 years with his wife of 43 years, Theresa, and their dog, Lucy. The two also are longtime members of St. Bernard Catholic Church.

Rash has been the owner/operator of a fencing company for more than 40 years. Community members can see some of his work at the Holmes Beach Dog Park and around the tot lot playground at city field.

Along with the three other candidates for the two spots available on the Holmes Beach City Commission – Jayne Christenson, Rick Hurst and Pat Morton – Rash was asked to respond to four questions. Each candidate’s answers will be published in The Sun.

What do voters need to know about your involvement in the community?

Many residents refer to me as a “boots-on-the-ground” commissioner. I may not have the traditional hobbies like golf or fishing, but I get great satisfaction from helping people. For 19 years, I have helped residents in times of need. I often walk and bike the streets of our city talking to residents and asking how I can help. I am an engaged commissioner – I answer phone calls and respond to emails in order to listen and advocate for residents.

I have served as Holmes Beach commissioner for the past two years, organized an early-morning July 5 beach cleanup that’s continued for nearly a decade and is often held in conjunction with Holmes Beach Code Compliance, WastePro and resident volunteers. I have constructed multiple dog park fences over the years. In June, I installed the tot lot fence with the help of Public Works. I’ve built and installed bike racks and trash can fences at beach accesses and installed irrigation and planted native beach flowers at the 72nd Street access.

Why are you running for Holmes Beach City Commission?

Even prior to my commission seat, I was a voice for the residents. As Holmes Beach commissioner, I furthered that cause. I listen and advocate passionately. I am a team player and dedicated to effectively collaborating and negotiating for practical and efficient solutions. I bring common sense and a successful business background to the commission. If re-elected, I feel I can do even more because there is so much more to do. I have a proven track record that demonstrates I lead with the best interests of our residents and our city in mind.

During my time on the commission I have spoken for the residents and opposed the 300% stormwater tax increase. Through my efforts, the commission compromised on a stormwater increase at half the proposed rate. I have worked to strengthen our noise ordinance to give residents back the peaceful enjoyment of their homes. I’ve challenged interested parties for ways to trim the budget and have fought wasteful spending of taxpayer money by helping to steer the city from single-source contracting bids to sourcing multiple bids for projects and engaged new sources to ensure our city was getting competitive prices.

If elected, what would be your priority to work on with your fellow commissioners?

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What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the city today?

I believe that our first priority and biggest challenge is BALANCE. Each year, there are approximately 10,000 new residents coming to Manatee County and more than 750,000 Island visitors. Manatee County has more than 400,000 residents, many of whom take daily trips to the beach regularly. We have a very small and finite amount of space for an ever-increasing number of people. I believe that it will be imperative for our city commissioners to work with county commissioners/state elected officials to find solutions for the unique issues caused by this rapidly increasing population. Holmes Beach residents are my top priority and should not incur the financial burdens, the daily stresses and increasingly negative impact that have been caused by the numbers and the extensive TDC promotional advertising. To date, our city does not receive an adequate amount of funding from the county to accommodate all of the visitors. I will advocate for county/tourist development tax dollars to assist our city in managing this daily impact. We need Manatee County commissioners to be responsive and active in finding solutions for alleviating traffic congestion and parking issues, funding a larger portion of the police and code compliance department officers needed to enforce the increasing number of people that come to our Island and result in exacerbated issues, funding for strained and failing infrastructure and proactively communicating to all of our visitors the ways they can help us protect this beautiful and unique Island for future generations.