Longtime Ward 1 incumbent Gene Gallo has been criticized by one of his opponents for serving on the city council since 1991, but Gallo said public service is his life.
Serving as a firefighter since 1960, Gallo has devoted 56 years of his life to public service and wants four more.
“There have been comments made about how long I’ve been there, but I’ve said when some of you folks get to be my age, you’ll find out that your belly burns just as hot as when you were 20 years old when you are doing what you love to do.”
Gallo is being challenged by political newcomers Tami Spyker Goudy and Devon Davis. Goudy has not missed a single city council meeting or workshop since filing for office, despite running a nonprofit and two small businesses.
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Gallo announced his retirement in late 2015 but decided to run again because, “Bradenton is moving ahead quicker than it has in a long time. There’s a lot going on and I want to be a part of that. We are the sixth-fastest growing city in the state, and that doesn’t happen by itself.”
I’ve said when some of you folks get to be my age, you’ll find out that your belly burns just as hot as when you were 20 years old when you are doing what you love to do.
Ward 1 incumbent Gene Gallo
Gallo said this year is different for him because he’s come to understand the importance of the millennial movement and what their value will be to the city’s future, and he pledges to push economic development in what he said “will likely be my last term.”
Goudy said she has learned a lot through the political process already.
“I still have the same platform, but I’m stronger about redevelopment,” Goudy said. “I’ve learned a lot about citywide issues, and I want to help the people on the east side of the city, too. There is a lot of disparity in the city, and I want to get out and talk with people, set up town hall meetings and have the people tell me what their problems are.”
Goudy said as a potential city councilwoman, she knows the weight of responsibility that would carry.
“We need to meet with people to know what the people need,” she said. “We can’t guess, and people don’t come to city council meetings, so the city council needs to go to them sometimes to talk about the things that are affecting their community.”
We can’t guess and people don’t come to city council meetings so the city council needs to go to them sometimes to talk about the things that are affecting their community.
Ward 1 challenger Tami Spyker Goudy
Davis said her first political run has been an eye-opening experience.
“It’s a lot like being a Realtor, you meet and work with many people, you must listen and understand their needs and then work very hard to get the job done and make sure everyone knows that you did your absolute best to solve their problem,” she said.
Davis described herself as a multitasker but said her focus will change to the task of governing, if elected.
“There are many issues in this city that need immediate attention, and as the councilwoman, I will have the ability to accomplish those goals and objectives,” she said.
There are many issues in this city that need immediate attention and as the councilwoman, I will have the ability to accomplish those goals and objectives.
Ward 1 challenger Devon Davis
Davis went on to criticize both of her opponents but said she is proud of endorsements like the one from the Manatee Tea Party and other individuals in the community.
“These personal endorsements mean the world to me,” she said.
One endorsement she did not receive was from the Realtors Political Action Committee, which decided to stay neutral. In a Sept. 22 letter to the Realtors PAC, Davis expressed her frustration, noting the PAC is supposed to support Realtors running for office.
Davis criticized the Realtors PAC for their lack of action, noting, “Remember, you contribute to the RPAC for action to be taken, not to remain neutral.”
Name: Gene Gallo
Election experience: Ward 1 city councilman since 1991.
Professional Experience: Started as a Bradenton firefighter in 1960, rising to the rank of fire chief.
Family: Married to his wife Pat for more than 50 years. Two adult daughters, Sandy Truan and Darenda Marvin.
Name: Tami Spyker Goudy
Election experience: None
Professional experience: Owns two small businesses, Blake Medical Center from 2009-2013 as manager of the speech-language pathology department, worked as a speech therapist from 1993-2009. Goudy also is a former kindergarten teacher from 1986-1990.
Family: Recently married to her husband Donald Goudy.
Name: Devon Davis
Election experience: None
Professional experience: Realtor for more than 20 years.
Family: Married to mayoral candidate Warren Merriman. One adult daughter, Alexa Carr.