Herald recommends: Jan Schneider for Congressional District 16, Democratic primary

Jan Schneider, who is running for U.S. House of Representatives 16th Congressional District, speaks at a recent Manatee Democratic Club luncheon.
Jan Schneider, who is running for U.S. House of Representatives 16th Congressional District, speaks at a recent Manatee Democratic Club luncheon. Bradenton File Photo

Jan Schneider wants another crack at Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan. First, she has to defeat her Democratic opponent, Brent King, in the upcoming primary.

A Sarasota attorney, Schneider has lost either primary or general election decisions for the District 13 seat four times, in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. She filed for a fifth attempt in 2010 before withdrawing. Her 2006 race was her first against Buchanan. (Under redistricting last year, the district, now No. 16, includes all of Manatee and portions of both Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.)

She’s the Energizer Bunny of local politics: She keeps running and running and running ...

Today, credit her determination to oust the Longboat Key representative and her feisty opposition to his political positions. We certainly admire her spirit.

Buchanan, first elected in 2006, appears bullet-proof running in a decidedly Republican district. But Schneider’s banking on this “crazy political year” to possibly turn her fortunes around — telling the Herald in an April interview that the seat “may not be winnable now, but who can say six months from now? And even if it proves unwinnable, it’s worth doing.”

Her motivation comes from high hopes of being a factor in ending congressional gridlock and ultra-partisan polarization and altering the rules on campaign financing. She also wants to shift the campaign focus to issues and policy, which this election season is drifting away from; she cited Buchanan’s lack of comments on many topics. But she also salutes Buchanan for being a good congressman who works hard, but they’re philosophical differences are too divergent for her to accept.

King, an airline pilot, political novice and Lakewood Ranch resident, mirrors Schneider on key issues, as became publicly apparent during an Aug. 2 candidate forum at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee with the Bradenton Herald moderating and METV televising.

Unlike King, Schneider knows the political ropes well. A graduate of Yale Law School alongside classmates Bill and Hillary Clinton, Schneider’s decades of practicing law, teaching and championing political causes gives her invaluable experience and a deep understanding of the complexities in federal political processes and the creation and implementation of laws and regulations.

Schneider takes strong and detailed stands against the racism and racial injustice in public education, criminal justice system and financial sectors, among others — as her response to a Herald candidate questionnaire reflects. Access to the ballot box because of voter identification and other electoral laws are a major disenfranchisement issue for minorities, too.

Instead of additional tax cuts for wealthy individuals and rich corporations, she proposes an increase for the top 1 percent, tax relief for the middle class to help reduce income inequality and equal pay for women. Schneider also intends to fight for budget policies that create good jobs by investing in infrastructure, education and clean energy; improving healthcare by reforming Obamacare; adopting stricter gun control laws and comprehensive immigration reforms; protecting the environment and eliminating “unwarranted subsidies” for the fossil fuel and other industries.

She also opposes one of Buchanan’s signature pieces of legislation, the drive for a balanced budget amendment. Schneider cites what many leading economists espouse: A balanced budget would rob policymakers of the vital flexibility to address national security and economic crises — and likely make recessions and downturns worse.

All of these positions can be found in the Democratic Party playbook.

We salute King for his candidacy and solid platform.

Schneider, however, holds a major advantage over her fellow Democrat. She’s a policy wonk whose decades of political experience would be valuable in navigating the halls of Congress. In the Democratic primary for Congressional District 16, the Bradenton Herald Editorial Board recommends Jan Schneider.

Candidate replies

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 letters@bradenton.com 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.youtube.com/manateeeducationaltv (click on Videos). 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.