Former County Commissioner Gwen Brown seeks to reclaim seat

skennedy@bradenton.comMarch 21, 2014 

MANATEE -- Former Manatee County Commissioner Gwendolyn Brown has filed to run again for a seat on the board.

Brown, defeated by incumbent Commissioner Michael Gallen in 2010, said she was running for the District 2 seat because she was unable to finish a number of projects she started.

Brown and Gallen are Democrats.

"It was in my mind I was going to finish, and wasn't able to do it, and I thought about it long and hard; only you can do certain things," she said.

Brown, first elected to the commission in 1994 and the first black person to serve on the panel, said among the projects she would like to work on would be helping local businesses and creating jobs, and transforming a section of the Washing

ton Gardens neighborhood into a park.

Brown said she wants to be "a commissioner everybody sees."

With the economy improving, jobs are important for District 2, which includes areas of Palmetto and Bradenton.

Brown said she hoped to make sure residents of District 2 feel the benefits of the recent economic upsurge and have an advantage in getting jobs.

Brown said she had previously worked with the Educational Consortium, a program to help youngsters interested in attending college.

Gallen, a lawyer who is the sole Democratic member of the commission, said he welcomed another candidate to the race.

"I used to teach high school government, and, just like business competition, in local representation it's also good for the people in Manatee County," he said. "The District 2 seat is a citizens' seat, it's not my seat, so I think it's great for them to have options, for them to choose who they want to be in that seat," Gallen said.

Other candidates in the District 2 race include two more Democrats, Palmetto City Commissioner Charles Smith and private investigator Corie Holmes.

The primary election is slated for Aug. 26, and the general election is set for Nov. 4.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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