The contest for the Ward 2 seat on Bradenton's City Council features three political novices each with lengthy records of community activism.
Gene Brown, George Mendez and Binnie Williams all promise to bring their dedication to civic improvements and positive change to the council dais.
Brown, a licensed funeral director and the vice president and chief operating officer of Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory since 1989, holds the edge in the race to replace Marianne Barnebey for the next two years. Barnebey resigned her council post to run for Bradenton mayor.
While the Herald Editorial Board favors Brown, kudos to both Mendez and Williams for their commitment to the city and their desire to serve the public on the council.
Brown believes Bradenton should be operated like a successful business with the highest standards. He is committed to keeping taxes and fees as low as possible while maintaining the quality of city services that residents expect.
Attention to quality-of-life issues should be a priority, too, he says, else the city fall behind and pay more later in order to reverse poor outcomes.
The city's quality of life cannot be sacrificed in the drive for economic growth but the two must be balanced to provide the next generations with a place they find desirable on both levels.
Brown describes himself as a consensus builder with positive energy who will work with all city stakeholders -- citizens, community organizations and civic agencies -- for thoughtful and fair resolution of issues.
He intends to create stronger connections between Bradenton's assets, including Riverwalk and McKechnie Field.
"If we can somehow tie our city together ... that's going to bring business downtown," he stated during a Herald candidate forum taped by Manatee Educational Television.
Brown's lengthy list of civic and community engagement includes eight years on the Bradenton Police Pension Board, five years on the City of Bradenton Merit Board and membership on the boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County and the DeSoto Boys & Girls Club.
The Herald's Editorial Board recommends Gene Brown for Bradenton City Council, Ward 2.
Candidates who do not receive the Herald Editorial Board's endorsement are invited to submit a response of up to 300 words by 4 p.m. the next weekday after the endorsement appears in print. Those can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 745-7047.
View candidate forums
The Herald, in partnership with Manatee Educational Television, videotaped candidate forums in a variety of key races, including this one.
These forums can be viewed on www.bradenton.com on the "Recent Multimedia" page. METV is also regularly airing all the forums, and the station can be viewed on Brighthouse channel 614, Verizon FIOS 31 and Comcast 19.
For METV airtimes, visit www.metvweb.com.