BRADENTON – Incumbent Manatee County Commission District 2 Commissioner Reggie Bellamy was elected to the board in 2018 and is seeking a second four-year term in this year's election. He faces competition in both the Democratic Primary and General Election.
Bellamy was born and raised in Bradenton and is a graduate of Manatee High School. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bethune Cookman University and served in the United States Army from 1989 to 1993, receiving an honorable discharge as a Corporal.
Bellamy has spent over 20 years working with the youth of Manatee County in various capacities. Prior to being elected in 2018, he was a Dean at Buffalo Creek Middle School in Palmetto, as well as the Executive Director of the Palmetto Youth Center. He has also served as head coach of the Palmetto High School boys basketball team.
Prior to his work at Buffalo Creek, Bellamy worked as a graduation coach and mentor, facilitating graduation plans and encouraging students to stay in school. He also served as an Academic Advisor at the State College of Florida.
In the 2018 Democratic primary, Bellamy defeated incumbent District 2 Commissioner Charles Smith 2,203 to 2,018 before going on to win the general election. He faces a rematch with Smith in this year's primary, while Republican Amanda Ballard will take on the winner in November in a redrawn district that is now more friendly to Republicans.
Bellamy has been a strong advocate for his district, fighting to ensure the vision for a north-of-the-river aquatics facility that was initiated by his predecessor, while also tirelessly pointing out the lack of sidewalks, lighting, and infrastructure in his district during meetings.
While Bellamy has found himself in the minority voting bloc on a number of the board's most controversial issues, including the firing of former county administrator Cheri Coryea and the failed vote to remove Vanessa Baugh as board chair following Vaccinegate, he has proven much more pro-development than Smith.
While Bellamy primarily ran a grassroots campaign in 2018, he has already raised nearly $74,000 this cycle, most of which has come from development interests and east county landholders, and his votes have tended to reflect that.