New Manatee County Commissioners Sworn In

Commissioner Amanda Ballard taking the oath of office
Commissioner Amanda Ballard taking the oath of office
Staff Report
BRADENTON – Three new Manatee County Commissioners—Amanda Ballard, Mike Rahn and Jason Bearden—were sworn into office during a brief ceremony Tuesday in the BOCC Chambers at the Manatee County Administration Building.

Commissioner Ballard (R-District 2) has spent her entire legal career working as an attorney in the child welfare system in Manatee County. Born in a small town in South Carolina, Ballard was the first in her blue-collar family to attend college. She went on to put herself through law school. It was there that she met her husband, David, with whom she has two children. Ballard pointed to the opioid crisis as a main point of concern on day one. 

"It’s been a problem here in Manatee County for quite a while,” she said. "I want to make sure that the Sheriff’s Office has the resources to deal with that problem and that we’re also having that two-pronged approach, making sure that we are prioritizing treatment for the people who are suffering.”  

Commissioner Rahn (R-District 4) is a mortgage lender and Marine Corps veteran. He has served as Vice Chair of the Manatee County Planning Commission, as well as the Safe Children Coalition Board of Directors. Rahn is a board member of the National Association of Home Builders, the former President of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association, and the former Second Vice President of the Florida Home Builders Association.

"It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to do this job and serve the citizens of Manatee County,” he said. "Priority One is infrastructure—working with the Public Works Department and Transportation to get our roads built that are already in the CIP plan.”

Commissioner Bearden (R-At-Large, District Six) is also a Marine Corps Veteran who served as a squad leader in Iraq. He holds an Executive MBA from the University of South Florida. Bearden is the National Vice President and local chapter President of the Full Gospel Business Gatekeepers Organization.

"The biggest challenge—as I see it—is seeing how we can strategize to put our county in a position to continue economic growth and reduce traffic,” he said.  "But I think with the board that we have in place today, we are going to be able to make that happen.”
The new commissioners have already begun work and will all be in their new seats next Tuesday, November 29, for their first regularly scheduled meeting.

Reader Comments
NOV 26, 2022  •  Let's see how long it takes for these 3 to get mired in the muck of manatee county politics, and have to bend a knee to the tiny emperor of Berufistan, his royal highness( hard not to laugh at that, since hes a midget)Scott hopes
NOV 24, 2022  •  I subscribe to the biblical view of being as gentle as a dove (be willing to give people a chance to show you who they are) but as wise as a serpent (watch 'em like a hawk and hold them accountable) when it comes to politicians. If Commissioner Ballard is truly interested in doing something about the opioid crisis, MSO is a good place to start but she needs to go further. Spend time with 911, EMS, treatment centers, pain management practitioners, community outreach programs, judges, probation officers, etc.; educate yourself to see how things connect and influence each other. I'd like to see Commissioner Rahn educate himself on the issues of his district such as the Bayshore High School cancer cluster. I'd really love to see ALL of the commissioners focus on the issues, problems, concerns and goals of Manatee County and only Manatee County. Please don't waste time or drag us into state/national level issues, arguments and divisions; we get enough of that from the state/federal politicians and the media. We expect you to put the good of your constituents and the county as a whole above your own personal interests, desires and benefit. We expect you to work together to do that, not snipe at each other or gang up on people you see as an "enemy" (such a drama-queen-esque attitude, it's really not that deep). This isn't just a volunteer position; you're getting paid a decent salary and we expect results and action, the same thing you expect of every county employee. I wish you luck and offer a reminder that we're all watching.
NOV 23, 2022  •  Now we can dust ourselves off from this tragedy of an election season and look to the next cycle and see what options we as a community have on the table, We have a guy that is willing to step up and run for the seat that Kruse is sitting in, Keith Green is his name and he seems like a guy that wants to move the county forward and isn't beholden to anyone and is a fresh face with new ideas. We must start looking at candidates that put the servant back in public service and not this how can I line my pockets mentality of so called leadership. We the residents deserve better and need to stop sitting on our butts and elect leaders that want to truly serve us and not opportunists who need to be elected just to feel important.
I live in corrupt town
NOV 23, 2022  •  It's a sad day for the citizens of Manatee County.  Citizens will have absolutely no representation.
NOV 23, 2022  •  Can we really expect less development with Rahn as Commissioner?