Candidate Profile: Harold Byrd Jr.

Staff Report
Former Bradenton City Councilman Harold Byrd Jr. will compete in a non-partisan runoff election for the Manatee County School Board's District 2 seat on the November ballot with Cindy Spray. The two candidates led a field of three in August's election with Spray getting 39 percent of the vote, while Byrd received 35.5 percent.

Byrd was a guest on The Bradenton Times Podcast in August. That conversation can be found here. Spray declined TBT's invitation.

Byrd served five terms on the Bradenton City Council, representing Ward 5 until vacating his seat in an unsuccessful candidacy for Mayor of Bradenton in 2020. As a councilman, he earned a reputation as a collegial public official who engaged in civil debate while remaining open to the ideas of others, even when they held significantly different ideological beliefs. 

A graduate of Southeast High School, Byrd holds a law degree from Florida A&M University College of Law, as well as a Master of Public Administration degree from Eckerd College with a concentration in public policy and public administration. He is a Manatee County native whose mother, Ruby Byrd, previously served on the Manatee School Board.

"During the economic downturn, I have had the opportunity to represent a city with manageable growth, strong law enforcement, and public safety with reasonable taxes," said Byrd in his campaign statement. "During that time, while on the city council, tough decisions were made and Bradenton remained financially sound. We have all made Bradenton a wonderful place to live, work, raise a family, and retire. I am grateful to the citizens for the support over the years and will strive to work tirelessly as your Manatee County School Board Member making the same type of tough decisions in educating our kids."

Byrd has been the Executive Director of the Harold E. Byrd, Sr. Educational Foundation since 1998 and serves on the Bradenton CCRA Advisory Board. He is a former member of the United Way of Manatee County Board of Directors, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors, the Manatee Council on Aging Board of Directors, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, and the Vice-Chair of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Byrd holds a significant fundraising advantage over his opponent, having raised a little over $32,000 to his opponent's $18,000.

Reader Comments
SEP 23, 2022  •  More money raised? Where did it come from? Maybe a Soros funded insider to keep the status quo of corruption! No thank you! Vote for Cindy.