BRADENTON -- Long-time City Councilman Gene Gallo's Ward 1 seat is being vacated by his retirement at the end of the year, but the seat will be officially contested during the Nov. 8 general election with at least two candidates filing for the seat so far.
Tamara K. Goudy, formerly Tamara Spyker until her recent wedding, filed late Friday afternoon with the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office. She joins local real estate agent Devon C. Davis in the race.
Goudy was instrumental in the start of the West Bradenton Crime Watch program eight years ago that she said has reduced crime by 24 percent. Her long relationship with the city's first responders is just one reason Goudy believes she can hit the ground running in serving Ward 1, where she has resided for 33 years.
"I have very large shoes to fill with Councilman Gallo retiring," said Goudy. "I will be an open and honest representative. This is our hometown and I'm pretty familiar with everyone in the city after working with the Bradenton Police Department with the West Bradenton Crime Watch program and this is an opportunity to serve even more residents of the city. I have a lot of support for our police and fire departments, which have remained stagnant in employee growth while the population continues to grow."
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Goudy said she supports growth, but attention to both infrastructure and first responders is needed to ensure that growth challenges are met.
"We have to find ways to protect our people, knowing we have budget constraints," she said. "When I started the crime watch program, we started with just one home in one community and in eight years have grown to 3,000 members in 75 neighborhoods."
That citizen-driven effort, "is just one example of how we can push that program out further and getting everyone to know how to be safe, which obviously helps our first responders."
Goudy is a speech language pathologist. She said that skill will be helpful in ensuring the door to communication is always open between herself, city and county officials and constituents.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.