The Bradenton Herald Editorial Board recommends the following in the Nov. 6 general election.
U.S. House, District 16: Vern Buchanan
The incumbent Republican and Longboat Key resident embraces pro-growth, free-market policies and targets tax code reform in order to build a simpler and fairer system that will spur business development and make American companies more competitive globally.
Buchanan also advocates regulation reform to abolish burdensome rules that restrict job growth and increase an employer's cost of doing business.
U.S. House, District 17: Tom Rooney
As a member of the House Agriculture Committee and chair of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, the 41-year-old Rooney sits in a strong position to bolster Florida's farms and ranches and the rural communities in East Manatee.
He has a track record of opposing what he describes as "heavy-handed regulation and government overreach onto the farm."
Florida Senate, District 26: Bill Galvano
The Bradenton attorney established a strong legislative reputation with his leadership of various powerful House committees during his four terms from 2002-2010.
He served his district with distinction by creating the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority and with his accomplishments in health care for children and his support for the disabled. Education is his top priority.
Florida House, District 71: Jim Boyd
During his first House term, the Bradenton Republican, founder and chief executive of Boyd Insurance, engineered reform of Florida's no-fault auto insurance law to combat staged accidents and bogus injury claims under Personal Injury Protection policies and save consumers money.
He describes himself as a team player who will work across the aisle in a bipartisan manner to move Florida forward.
Florida House, District 73: Greg Steube
A Republican finishing his first House term, Greg Steube is an attorney well versed in agriculture law who earned an undergraduate degree in animal science. That gives him a strong understanding of the mostly rural farm and ranch district. As an Army veteran who served in the Iraq conflict, he also champions veterans issues.
County Commission, District 1: Larry Bustle
The former Palmetto mayor, decorated combat pilot and one-term Republican county commissioner remains committed to a business-friendly county government focused on job creation and economic incentives to both attract new businesses and encourage existing ones to expand. He cites commission success in passing affordable budgets every year while tax rates remained stable.
County Commission, District 5: Vanessa Baugh
Lakewood Ranch business owner Vanessa Baugh, a Republican and political novice, plans to pursue a diverse economy, business recruitment and job creation alongside fiscal responsibility in the county's budget.
She has been attending county commission meetings regularly for two years to gain insights into governance and public policy decision-making. That speaks well of her commitment to public service.
County Commission, D-7, At-Large: Betsy Benac
A Manatee County assistant planning director for more than a decade and currently employed by Benderson Development Co., Betsy Benac vows to be a full-time
commissioner dedicated to consensus leadership and ensuring the quality of life here is protected and improved.
Manatee School Board: Dave "Watchdog" Miner
With the board grappling with the district's financial disaster and the superintendent's swift resignation, Dave "Watchdog" Miner is the right candidate to help guide the district toward greater transparency and accountability. For the past 12 years, Miner has been a fixture at school board meetings. His deep institutional knowledge and dedication to open government is imperative as the district works through these difficulties.
Manatee County Supervisor of Elections: Mike Bennett
With his government and military service along with a business background, outgoing GOP state Sen. Mike Bennett possesses the experience and organizational skills to recruit, train and supervise a strong elections office team. That, he notes, is essential to ensure fair, accurate and timely elections.
Manatee County Clerk of the Court: R.B. "Chips" Shore
Even after some 35 years as Manatee County's clerk of the circuit court and comptroller, R.B. "Chips" Shore maintains his passion for public service.
The 71-year-old Bradenton native also continues to be at the forefront of technological advances in court and document management, all to increase government efficiency. His outstanding leadership and vision provide Manatee County with unparalleled service.
12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney: Ed Brodsky
As a career prosecutor with more than two decades of service in the State Attorney's Office, Ed Brodsky holds valuable experience in all of the office's divisions -- felony, misdemeanor and juvenile. Combined with his current position as the office's second in command and other management positions, Brodsky's resume stands out.
Bradenton Mayor: Wayne Poston
Incumbent Mayor Wayne Poston has presided over a host of city improvements, including Riverwalk park; the creation of Realize Bradenton Inc. to promote downtown; and ongoing upgrades to McKechnie Field.
Poston's leadership skills extend to a host of service and social organizations. His experience and leadership are vital as the city continues to progress out of a still soft economy.
Bradenton City Council, Ward 2: Gene Brown
Gene Brown, a licensed funeral director and the vice president and chief operating officer of Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory, is one of three political novices in this race.
All have lengthy records of community activism, and all promise to bring their dedication to civic improvements and positive change to the council dais.
We believe Brown has stronger ideas to move the city forward.
Palmetto City Commission, Ward 1: Charles B. Smith
Charles B. Smith's credentials run deep as a former vice mayor and commission member before his current term. He also served on a variety of major boards. Smith has been the driving force behind the establishment of a city housing authority, and he is focused on economic development and jobs. He's highly motivated to improve the city.
Palmetto City Commission, At-Large 1: Eric F. Gilbert
Eric F. Gilbert, currently chairman of the city's Planning and Zoning Board, has hands-on experience updating city planning and zoning ordinances to improve Palmetto's economy and better protect the health and safety of residents. As a small business owner of an electronic marketing company, he intends to use that experience to help bridge the gap between government and private enterprise.
Holmes Beach Mayor: Carmel Monti
This is a battle between vacation development, business interests and status quo incumbents versus neighborhood preservation, personal values and citizen outrage.
Challenger Monti, in his first campaign for office, is calling for strict enforcement of the city's land development codes, describing current applications of building rules too lax.
Holmes Beach City Commission: Marvin Grossman, Judy Titsworth
The top two vote-getters among the four candidates in this race win commission seats. Marvin Grossman and Judy Titsworth, political rookies like Monti, agree with the mayoral candidate on tighter code enforcement.
Grossman embraces smart growth "within a vision that ensures that building density is compatible with our historic, small-town atmosphere."
Titsworth, who works in the building industry, advocates policy changes on buffering, screening and landscaping to reduce noise and privacy concerns.
Amendment 1, bans Obamacare health care mandate: No
Amendment 2, expansion of property tax exemption to veterans disabled in combat: Yes
Amendment 3, potentially crippling state government revenue cap: No
Amendment 4, property tax reduction for snowbirds, others: No
Amendment 5, legislative power over courts: No
Amendment 6, ban on public funding of abortion; state privacy clause restriction: No
Amendment 7, removed by court.
Amendment 8, allows public funding of religious organizations: No
Amendment 9, property tax break for surviving spouses of veterans, first responders: Yes
Amendment 10, tax break for small businesses: Yes
Amendment 11, extra property tax break for certain low-income seniors: Yes
Amendment 12, restructures appointment of student representative to university system Board of Governors: No