Republican files for Manatee County District 5 commission seat

MANATEE -- Manatee County District 5 Commissioner Vanessa Baugh has another challenger in 2016.

Republican Kathleen S. Grant, a Lakewood Ranch resident, filed Monday for the District 5 seat, which represents Lakewood Ranch and Myakka City.

Grant, a former attorney who practiced in New York before moving to Florida in 2004, said she thinks Lakewood Ranch residents' concerns "haven't really been heard by the commission." Grant has lived in Lakewood Ranch since 2006.

"I wanted to throw my hat in the ring and spend the next several months talking to residents and hearing their concerns to make a difference," she said.

Grant, 65, is the third candidate who has filed for the District 5 seat in the 2016 election.

Baugh, a Republican, filed in June for re-election to a second term on the commission.

Thomas Batchelor, who has no party affiliation, is a Longboat Key firefighter and paramedic who filed in August.

Grant has previously served as supervisor and treasurer of the Lakewood Ranch Community Development District 2 and also on the board of her condo, Watercrest. Grant resigned from the CCD Board in March 2014.

During her time on the CDD 2, Grant said she "got the sense of some of the concerns of some of the residents of District 5."

Grant said she feels these concerns haven't really been heard by the commission, and East Manatee is often ignored.

"We've been expressing them, but we don't feel they've been heard," Grant said. "We don't feel like we have the kind of voice on the commission that we should have been based on the growth. The growth has been great but it can cause problems, too. We want to make sure those are properly addressed."

With the growth, infrastructure has been "sort of reactive rather than proactive," Grant added.

As a commissioner, Grant said she wants to make sure the resident concerns are heard as now she feels "decisions are predetermined without getting a fair hearing from county residents."

Three other Manatee County Commission seats are up for re-election in 2016.

The District 1 seat, which represents Parrish and north county.

The District 3 seat, which covers West Bradenton and Anna Maria Island.

The District 7 at-large seat.

Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024.


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