MANATEE -- A Longboat Key firefighter and paramedic has filed as a candidate in the 2016 election for the District 5 County Commission seat now held by Vanessa Baugh.
Thomas Batchelor filed with no party affiliation. He is the only candidate challenging the incumbent, who filed for re-election in June.
Batchelor called himself a "career public servant," rather than a career politician, in his candidate statement. He said he served in the Longboat Key Fire Rescue for 28 years and plans to end that career in May 2016 to campaign full time.
Issues he focused on in his candidate statement include:
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Improving public safety through employee retention of emergency medical services personnel and increased EMS units.
Finding funding for more deputies as requested by
Overhauling animal services, including fixing the system that allowed the euthanasia of dogs Buck and Bill in March 2014 and is causing the Padi controversy.
"Commissioners are often engaged in more arguing that doing," he wrote.
Batchelor said he was unable to talk Tuesday as he was working a shift until 8 a.m. Wednesday.