The contest for the Manatee County commission District 4 seat features two of the three Republicans who squared off in the primary four years ago -- the eventual November winner, Robin DiSabatino, and Timothy Norwood.
This time around, though, the primary victor will win the position outright since no Democrat or other office-seeker elected to enter the race in the November general election. Thus, this has become an open primary with all registered voters eligible to cast a ballot.
As the incumbent, DiSabatino vows to keep her attention centered around her previous campaign platform -- job creation, low taxes and crime reduction, primarily fighting gangs and violence in order to create safer neighborhoods. These themes point to improvements in the district's quality of life, an essential ingredient to the overall vitality of the county.
The urban South County district is the focus of new efforts to revitalize residential neighborhoods and commercial zones through infill incentives and other programs, including a new tax-increment financing district. DiSabatino is devoting her attention to this game plan.
Norwood wrongly claims District 4 has been "forgotten" by county government, this after a long study emphasized South County as a key to future prosperity.
DiSabatino has proven to be a good steward of the economy and the environment, the latter disarming past critics who assailed her 2010 campaign connections to developers.
Along with job-creation incentive packages, her pro-business approach includes fast-tracking the permitting process to enable companies to grow at a quicker and less expensive pace. The county has already seen success with this strategy.
A full-time commissioner, DiSabatino spent more than 25 years as a self-employed business woman and brings that experience to the dais -- by focusing on running government like a business that is responsive to citizens.
Transparency and accountability, she says, are essential to that. As are inclusive discussions that includes community leaders, stakeholders and other citizens in order to gather a broad range of ideas on moving the county forward.
On the difficult issue of indigent health care, she calls last summer's surtax election a hastened and expensive vote that lacked a definitive plan and divided the electorate. With the county's Health Care Trust Fund poised to expire next year and a future funding source yet to be identified, DiSabatino wants to tackle the issue with a business approach. We agree that the community must have a detailed explanation of the problem along with projected costs before citizens united to find a solution.
DiSabatino could better support that pathway by helping to dispel voter confusion. She contends people believe the Affordable Care Act is designed to address this situation -- by providing affordable coverage for everyone.
That was indeed ACA's intention, except that is not playing out in Florida. The state rejected Medicaid expansion under ACA, and thus the indigent and working poor are left without health care coverage.
Unless Florida expands Medicaid, ACA is not the answer to our indigent health care crisis, and DiSabatino would do well to explain this to county residents as the issue continues to percolate.
As the region's economy continues to rebound, her business-centered positions are spot-on.
For Manatee County commission District 4, the Herald recommends Robin DiSabatino.
Candidates who do not receive the Herald Editorial Board's endorsement are invited to submit a response of up to 300 words by 4 p.m. the next weekday after the endorsement appears in print.
Those can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 745-7047.
View candidate forums
The Herald, in partnership with Manatee Educational Television, videotaped candidate forums in a variety of key races.
These forums can be viewed anytime on bradenton.com/video. 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 airtimes, visit www.metvweb.com.