With his history of community, public and political service, James T. Golden offers Democratic primary voters a strong candidate to compete on the November ballot in this contest to represent District 5 on the Manatee County Commission.
His opponent in the Aug. 14 primary is Frank Archino, a retired Navy veteran and recent recipient of an associate's degree in political science from State College of Florida.
District 5 includes East Manatee south of State Route 64 and a wide strip of the county west of Interstate 75 from Sarasota to the Manatee River.
A pastor, lawyer and Army veteran, Golden served two terms on the Bradenton City Council, including a stint as vice mayor. During his council tenure, he played a leadership role in the July 2000 establishment of Bradenton's Central Community Redevelopment Agency -- a strategic effort aimed at the revitalization of blighted and neglected neighborhoods by providing support of targeted economic development projects through a special tax source.
He also broadened the boundaries of his council experience as the city's representative on Manatee County's Tourist Development Council and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
While still practicing law as a member of the Florida Bar, Golden is also pastor of Bradenton's Ward Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church. He sits on the board of directors of Manatee Glens Hospital and previously sat on the boards of Meals on Wheels and Just for Girls.
His political experience is extensive, including eight years as state committeeman for the Manatee County Democratic Executive Committee and as a 2008 member of the Florida Electoral College for President Barack Obama.
Golden vows to bring greater civility to county commission proceedings in order to solve problems together, a welcome but difficult challenge in today's hotly contested political arenas.
His platform focuses on expanding the county's economy and growing jobs through new public-private partnerships, more small business incentives and a more competitive workforce. He's also a proponent of smart growth and development policies, common candidate themes but articulated well by Golden.
Archino has not held public office before. We applaud his enthusiasm and effort exhibited in his candidacy.
At this point in time, we agree with Golden that seasoned representation is vital as the county continues grappling with tough budget and policy priorities. With his diverse views and experience, the veteran public official would add a refreshing voice to the dais. The Herald Editorial Board recommends James T. Golden as the Democratic candidate for Manatee County Commission, District 5.
Candidates who do not receive the Herald Editorial Board's endorsement are invited to submit a response of up to 300 words by 5 p.m. the day after the endorsement appears in print. Those can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 745-7097.
View candidate forums
The Herald, in partnership with Manatee Educational Television, has videotaped candidate forums in these contested races. These forums can be viewed on www.bradenton.com on the "Recent Multimedia" page. METV is also regularly airing all the forums, and the station can be viewed on Brighthouse channel 614, Verizon FIOS 31 and Comcast 19. For METV air times, visit www.metvweb.com.