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Candidate Profile: Carol Felts

Carol Ann Felts is an 8th-generation Floridian and dedicated community activist who has been deeply engaged in local government for several years. She is seeking the Republican nomination for Manatee County Commission District 6, a countywide, "at-large" seat.

Felts is a longtime Myakka City resident whose involvement in local politics began because of rampant east county development and the way it was impacting her community. As she learned more about land use decisions and issues like stormwater management, Felts found that there was a lot to be desired regarding elected officials being responsive to the citizens who are supposed to be their constituents.

In 2020, Felts filed as a write-in candidate for the east county District 5 seat when no candidate was going to be on the ballot against the incumbent, Vanessa Baugh. Felts has been an almost constant presence at Manatee County Commission meetings in the time since, often showing up to meetings better prepared than the commissioners themselves.

Felts has been something of a hairshirt on the current board, routinely calling commissioners out for their hypocrisies and failure to be responsive to citizens over developers and other special interests. She offers a solid understanding of local government issues, a doggedly persistent, never-give-up attitude, and the tenacity of someone who is seeking change for the benefit of her community rather than the sake of her own ambitions.

Through her grassroots efforts, Felts has managed to raisealmost $9,000 as of the last reporting deadline, much of which was required to pay her qualification fee after failing to gather enough signatures to get on the ballot. While that’s considerably less than either of her opponents–incumbent Commissioner Carol Whitmore and Jason Bearden–it is nonetheless an impressive number for someone that does not have special interest support.

Whereas county politics have become increasingly centered on hot-button culture war issues, Felts’ emphasis has been hyper-local and focused on issues that impact and matter to all Manatee County residents, regardless of party affiliation.

Felts spoke in detail about her candidacy and reasons for running on a recent episode of The Bradenton Times podcast. Click here to listen.


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