DeSantis Appoints Rainford to Sarasota County Commission

Todays News

Photo: Neil Rainford courtesy Facebook.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Planning Commissioner Neil Rainford to serve out the remainder of the late Sarasota County Commissioner Nancy Detert’s term. That could set up the long-time Republican Party leader for nearly a decade holding the county office.

“Taking the seat of a legend like Nancy Detert won’t be easy, but I’m honored to be entrusted by Governor DeSantis with this appointment to the Sarasota County Commission,” Rainford said in a statement. “We are consistently ranked as one of the top communities in the nation in which to live. So we are already doing a lot right.”

Detert died unexpectedly in April, a little more than halfway through her second term on the Sarasota County Commission holding the District 3 seat. The Venice Republican previously served this region in the state Senate, state House and School Board.

Rainford previously won a seat on the Sarasota County Charter Review Board. He’s also the secretary for the Republican Party of Sarasota, and just won re-election to the county position in December.

Christian Ziegler, Republican Party of Florida chairman and a former Sarasota County Commissioner, cheered the appointment.

“I’ve known him for a long time. He’s been a good party activist for years,” Ziegler said. “He was always the first to knock on doors, make calls and help the Republican team every level of government. He has served on the Planning Commission and has a good business background. He’s a good friend, and more important, a good human, and I’m excited to have him serving in that role.”

Local party leaders cheered the appointment as well.

“He’s part of the next generation to lead this county as an elected official,” said Jack Brillchair of the Republican Party of Sarasota County.

But the appointment was a bit of a surprise, many political observers confirmed. Many assumed former Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight, who also applied for the vacant post, would be appointed to the job.

Regardless, Rainford will hold the post immediately. The board will meet on Tuesday for the first time with Rainford as a member.

“We have to be a community that builds up and retains the next generation. We can no longer be the community that sends off our sons and daughters to far away colleges to never see them return,” he said. “We can be a place for diverse business interests, a place for young families to set down roots. That includes promoting innovation and diversity in housing that allows young families to get strong starts and build wealth in careers.”

Photo: Neil Rainford courtesy Facebook.

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