Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie filed Friday to run for Bradenton Beach Commission Ward 4 seat, which will be vacated soon by Commissioner Jan Vosburgh as she reaches her term limit.
“So much for retiring and slowing down,” Chappie said Friday evening with a laugh. “It really wasn’t on my radar for some reason. I just didn’t realize that Ward 4 was going to be opening up.”
Chappie, who in March withdrew from running for re-election for the District 3 seat on the Manatee County Commission, said he is looking forward to run.
His opponent is Pines Trailer Park resident William Vincent — who many call Bill.
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As I said, it wasn’t on my radar but then the more people called and the more I started thinking about it, I thought ‘You know what? I do want to do this and I am looking forward to it.’
Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie on running for Bradenton Beach Commission Ward 4 seat
July 1 will be the end of Chappie’s 42nd year living in Bradenton Beach. He served as Bradenton Beach mayor from 2001-07 and several terms as vice mayor in 1997, 1999, 2000-01, and 2007-08, according to the Manatee County government website.
“Bradenton Beach is a great community. It always has been. We’ve come such a long way in the 42 years that I’ve been blessed to live out here,” the 64-year-old Chappie told a Herald reporter. “As I said, it wasn’t on my radar but then the more people called and the more I started thinking about it, I thought ‘You know what? I do want to do this and I am looking forward to it.’”
Reached by phone Friday evening, Vosburgh said she is “thrilled to death” about Chappie running.
“I think he’s going to be great. I feel very confident. ... He’s got more experience than anybody,” Vosburgh said. “He certainly loves the community and everybody knows him. He’s very loved in the community. ... We even have a park named after him.”
Chappie, a regular at meetings in all three island municipalities (Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach, and Holmes Beach), said many challenges face the city.
”The seasonal population that has hit the beaches is tremendous,” he said. “We’re struggling on the island. We’re struggling with the traffic issues. We’re struggling with the short-term rental issues and all that brings the negative impact to our residential neighborhoods. We’re struggling to deal with that in the best way.”
He’s very loved in the community. ... We even have a park named after him.
Bradenton Beach Commissioner Jan Vosburgh
Though he acknowledged there’s been good impact as the result of tourists visiting Anna Maria Island, Chappie said there’s a negative side as well. He will focus his campaign message on traffic issues, short-term vacation rentals and how to deal with them, as well as the mooring field opportunities Bradenton Beach officials are once again looking at.
“Being an elected official is a tremendous job, whether it’s a city commissioner, a mayor or county commissioner,” he said. “It’s a great job to serve your community where you live, where your family lives.”