Ramirez Counts on Conservation Reputation in County Race

Todays News

Lourdes Ramirez for years has been somewhat an anomaly in Sarasota Republican politics. A strong party regular and leader of local clubs, she’s also been a controlled growth activist and critic of many of the developers who prominently support the party.

Now she’s making another run for County Commission in District 2, under very different circumstances. She submitted her final paperwork to qualify at the same time she was dealing with depositions for a lawsuit against the county regarding a decision to allow a hotel development on Siesta Key.

“I’m running because I’m frustrated, as much as a lot of people in Sarasota County, with having a county commission that doesn’t seem to be listening to citizens,” Ramirez said.

While she twice ran against County Commissioner Al Maio, the situation this year will be markedly different. Maio won’t run again thanks to term limits, for one. Perhaps more importantly, she will run under single-member elections for the first time. That means only people within District 2 will vote, reducing the potential cost of the race substantially and potentially amplifying the local development decisions that have long been the bread-and-butter of Ramirez’s agenda.

At the same time, she’s now running in a district that leans blue. About 1,700 more registered Democrats reside in District 2, a contributing factor to incumbent Commissioner Christian Ziegler’s decision not to run. Ramirez fought hard in favor of the switch to district voting, and against a commission-led effort to reverse the change earlier this year, and she’s confident voters who stood with her in chambers to fight against development approvals in Siesta and elsewhere in the district will remember her leadership on those matters during an August primary against contractor Mark Smith and later against the ultimate Democratic nominee. Former Sarasota Mayors Fredd Atkins and Hagen Brody and beach activist Mike Cosentino qualified as Democratic candidates.

“If you look at my district, the people there know me and know I have been standing up to politically connected developers,” she said. “They know I stood up to the county when they decided to make a new hotel on the Key.

“I think I have broad support when it comes to local issues like housing that are impacting them in their backyard,” she said. “Those parties are very concerned about the election, and even though there are slightly more Democrats than Republicans, everyone sees what I have done for the community.”

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