Baugh running for 3rd commission term
MANATEE COUNTY (WSNN) - Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh announced Thursday that she will seek a third term. She will have to battle former county administrator Ed Hunzeker for her District 5 seat .
Baugh was very critical of Hunzeker the administrator, especially last year after citizens in the vicinity of Prospect Road complained to the elected commissioners that they received no advance notice that the county was erecting a 185–foot radio communications tower in their neighborhood. Baugh wrote a letter of reprimand for Hunzeker's personnel file that all but one of the other commissioners.
Only residents of District 5 can vote in the fall 2020 election. District 5 spans from south of State Road 64 to the Sarasota County line and from the east side of Lockwood Ridge Road to Myakka City.
According to the Herald Tribune, Baugh stressed many priorities she will campaign on including: getting Lena Road connected as a north–south thoroughfare, supporting plans to widen State Road 70 from Lorraine Road to County Road 675, building a library in Lakewood Ranch and expanding the Braden River Library, creating a new berth at Port Manatee to accommodate expanding business there, and tackling the problems associated with the homeless population.
Originally from Virginia, Baugh moved to Florida in 1999. She and her husband, Don, started Vanessa Fine Jewelry on Lakewood Ranch's Main Street that same year. The Lakewood Ranch residents have four children and 10 grandchildren.
Baugh became a commissioner in 2012. She is currently the chairwoman of the Port Authority. She cites experience with the Sarasota–Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization, Tourist Development Council and Florida Association of Counties' board on water policy.
In other commission races next year, District 1 incumbent Priscilla Whisenant Trace filed to seek a second term. The Republican has no opponent so far.
Paul Finer, a Republican, is running for the at–large seat held by Benac. So far, Benac, also a Republican, has not filed to seek a third term.