Mikael Sandstrom, a 33-year-old pedestrian safety activist, filed today for Sarasota City Commission, becoming the seventh candidate to file for two seats up for election in March. Sandstrom, a Swedish native who has lived in Sarasota since his family moved here in 1986, says he wants to elevate city dialogue and make sure certain issues don’t get forgotten in the race.

“A lot of issues get skirted to the side,” he says, voicing frustration at the city watching events like Thunder By The Bay move this year to Lakewood Ranch. He also is an advocate for pedestrian bridges connecting areas like the the Bayfront near Marina Jack to Main Street or running from Martin Luther King, Jr. Way across US 41. “It would make it easier to regulate traffic and also add to the culture of Sarasota,” he says. 

Sandstrom has no political party affiliation but did intern in 2008 for the Libertarian National Committee. He has also interned at FreedomWorks. In the private sector, he serves as vice president of marketing and technology for Sweden Trade, a retail business his parents own on St. Armands Circle, and he previously worked as chief financial officer for Sarasota-based ZV Studios. 

Other candidates to have filed so far include: Tahiti Park neighborhood leader Jennifer Ahearn-Koch; former Sarasota Mayor Fredd “Glossie” Atkins; former prosecutor Hagen Brody; incumbent City Commissioner Susan Chapman; Planning Board member Pat Gannon; and Gulf Business Systems owner Martin Hyde. All candidates will appear on the ballot on March 14, where voters can vote for two choices. Unless someone wins a majority of votes in March, the top three vote-getters proceed to a May 9 runoff, where the top two vote-getters in that election win seats on the board.