Three Running for Open Venice Council Seat

Todays News

There will be at least one new face on the Venice City Council following elections on Tuesday. Three candidates are running to fill retiring Councilman Rich Cautero’s Seat 4 spot at the dais. Jim Boldt, Jennifer Lewis and Chris Simmons are vying for the job.

It’s become somewhat of a partisan affair with the Republican Party of Sarasota endorsing Boldt and the Sarasota Democratic Party backing Lewis, while Simmons touts his proud status as a no party affiliation voter.

Boldt in the final days of the race stressed his business background. “That I have owned five businesses in four different industries make me uniquely qualified for the council seat. The council deals with so many different aspects of the city, a broad background will be very helpful.’ He believes the town runs well now but needs to invest in infrastructure to support continued growth.

Lewis said she remains focused on preserving a community her family loved visiting for 30 years. “My interest is in preserving the best of Venice, she said. “That would include leaving downtown height restrictions as is. Quaint is often the word used to describe our Town. I want to keep it that way.’ She also said the city must work with appropriate state and federal entities to combat red tide.

And Simmons said the city needs a balanced approach in addressing community needs. “We have a large disabled population and we need to make sure they feel included,” he said. He pointed to mobility issues he has faced, whether that’s being asked to part a distance from Venice Theater for shows and being unable to attend beach festivals because of access issues. He noted Venice 15 years ago had an award-winning disabilities advisory board and he would like to reinstate that.

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