WMFR has a new commissioner

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BRADENTON – The West Manatee Fire Rescue District has a new commissioner who will take the dais later this month.

Joining Commissioner Larry Jennis, who had no challengers for his seat, will be Robert Bennett, taking the place of Commissioner Randy Cooper. After 12 years on the dais, Cooper decided not to run for re-election this year.

With no challengers, Jennis was automatically re-elected for an additional four-year term on the fire district’s board of commissioners. He currently serves as the board’s vice-chair.

Three candidates qualified to fill Cooper’s vacant seat – Bennett, Steven Pontious and Derrick Warner. Bennett received the most votes and won the seat in a landslide with 9,689 ballots cast in his favor across 11 precincts, or 64.47% of the total number of votes. Pontious came in second with 2,681 votes, or 17.84%, with Warner ending the night with 2,659 votes, 17.69% of the total votes cast.

Pending election certification, Bennett will be sworn in along with Jennis during the Nov. 17 commission meeting planned to be held at the district’s temporary administration offices at Palma Sola Presbyterian Church, 6510 Third Ave. W. in Bradenton. The meeting also will be available to attend via Zoom.

WMFR commissioners serve four-year terms and work with the fire chief to help create policy and manage the fire district. The West Manatee district includes all of Anna Maria Island, Cortez and unincorporated Manatee County on the west side of the county.

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