Smith Believes He Can Be District 2's Effect Representative

Todays News

Architect Mark Smith has dealt with county issues on Siesta Key for decades. Now he wants to represent the region and much of Sarasota on the County Commission and advocate from the dais. And he feels a change in how members of the board get elected will empower him to do just that.

“A single-member district has got the undivided attention of one commissioner,” Smith said.

Smith won the Republican nomination in August in Sarasota County Commission District 2. But while that in past years has often been viewed as a coronation, the change to single-member districts also means he has an uphill road in terms of demographics. District 2 as of the latest voter registration report on Oct. 7 serves as home to 25,013 registered Democrats and 23,542 registered Republicans, as well as 17,083 voters with no party affiliation and 1,411 minor party voters.

But he holds a substantial financial advantage. He raised $181,325 to run for the seat compared to Democrat Fredd Atkins’ $87,349.

He also has attended neighborhood meetings, some of which never saw countywide candidates for Sarasota County Commission ever in attendance. He hopes even in Democratic areas, people appreciate his understanding of many issues that transcend political party.

“They have issues like stormwater drainage issues, and we have that on Siesta Key,” he said. “It’s getting the county to respond, and those are the kinds of things we need to tackle. We have air pollution being caused by cement recycling plants, and that needs to be addressed. That’s a serious health issue for families and kids, so that needs to be addressed. It’s a county responsibility, and it’s an issue that before I ran, I wasn’t even aware of.”

But Smith believes as a commissioner, he will be able to address the matter and others effectively, the way he has pushed for positive changes on Siesta Key. He notes a majority of sitting County Commissioners, who are all Republicans, endorsed his campaign.

But he also has a history of success that dates back all the way to 2000, when he advocated for a beautification effort in Siesta Key. New architectural standards helped turn the island into a legitimate world class destination and a paradise for residents. That has helped the entire region by boosting a tourism economy.

He also has pushed for quality of life improvements including better parking management on the island. The same ability to work with county government and elected leaders should make his an effective advocate when it comes to improving sewer service and infrastructure in North Sarasota County.

“These aren’t partisan issues— water quality air pollution, making sure the sewage systems are working so they aren’t dumping sewage into the Bay,” he said. “Talking to neighborhood leadership, they want something done. I’ve told them with my background, I’m confident I can get the two other votes necessary to get what you need.”

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