New Manatee Commissioners sworn in Tuesday

Three new Manatee County Commissioners were sworn in Tuesday
Three new Manatee County Commissioners were sworn in Tuesday(Manatee County Govenrment)
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 4:59 PM EST
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Three new County Commissioners were sworn in at a ceremony Tuesday morning.

The three new commissioners, Amanda Ballard, Mike Rahn and Jason Bearden, were surrounded by friends and family as they took their oath of office in the Board of County Commissioners Chambers. The new commissioners have already begun work and will all be in their new seats next Tuesday, November 29, for their first regularly scheduled Manatee County Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Manatee County Government provided ABC7 with bios of each candidate and the districts they represent:

Commissioner Ballard—elected to serve residents of District Two—has spent her entire legal career working as an attorney in the child welfare system in Manatee County.  Born in a small town in South Carolina, Ballard was the first in her blue-collar family to attend college. She went on to put herself through law school. It was there she met her husband, David, with whom she has two children. Ballard pointed to the opioid crisis as a main point of concern on Day One. “It’s been a problem here in Manatee County for quite a while,” she said. “I want to make sure that the Sheriff’s Office has the resources to deal with that problem and that we’re also having that two-pronged approach, making sure that we are prioritizing treatment for the people who are suffering.”

 Commissioner Rahn—elected to District Four—is a mortgage lender and Veteran. He has served as Vice Chair of the Manatee County Planning Commission, as well as the Safe Children Coalition Board of Directors. He is also a board member at the National Association of Home Builders, the former President of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association and former Second Vice President of the Florida Home Builders Association.”It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to do this job and serve the citizens of Manatee County,” he said. “Priority One is infrastructure—working with the Public Works Department and Transportation to get our roads built that are already in the CIP plan.”

Commissioner Bearden—elected to serve all county residents as an At-Large Commissioner in District Six—is a Marine Corps Veteran who served as squad leader in Iraq. He holds an Executive MBA from the University of South Florida. Bearden is the National Vice President and local chapter President of the Full Gospel Business Gatekeepers Organization. After leaving active duty, he started his family and made his permanent home in Florida. Bearden and his wife, Katie, are the proud parents of three children.”The biggest challenge—as I see it—is seeing how we can strategize to put our county in a position to continue economic growth and reduce traffic,” he said.  “But I think with the board that we have in place today, we are going to be able to make that happen.”