Letters to the Editor

Manatee County school board needs Mary Cantrell's leadership style

This is the age of negative campaigning, we are told. We see evidence of this daily as Nov. 4 election day approaches.

What a breath of fresh air it is to follow Mary Cantrell's campaign for school board in District 5. It was so disconcerting, but not surprising, to see the negative campaign flyers attacking Mary in the primary election.

But rather than retaliate, Mary has continued to stay positive. Her focus is on the issues impacting our students, and on her successful 18-year tenure as the director of Manatee Technical Institute.

The school district desperately needs Mary's style of leadership -- positive, tenacious, visionary, and collaborative.

The question of Mary's residency is an example of a negative attack. In raising this issue, critics have totally missed the point that over the last 18 years, Mary has devoted every waking hour to make MTI a nationally recognized technical school, to build partnerships with Manatee County businesses and to help Manatee County students achieve their career dreams.

At night during those 18 years, Mary drove home to St. Petersburg to be with her husband and five children. Now that her husband has retired and they can live wherever they want, they have chosen Manatee County as their home. Mary currently resides in the Lakewood Ranch area.

Mary Cantrell's commitment to Manatee County and to its residents is beyond reproach.

Pay more attention to positive campaigns such as Mary's. Negative campaigns are intended to distract voters from the critical issues at hand.

Vote for Mary Cantrell for school board on Nov. 4.

Fran Padgett