Manatee County School Board: District 5
Candidate: Carlton "Les" Nichols
Residence: East Manatee
Education: Some college while serving 4 years in the United States Marine Corps.
Carlton "Les" Nichols will compete with board chair Julie Aranibar and outgoing MTI Director Mary Cantrell for the Manatee County Commission District 5 seat on the August ballot.
Nichols, a property manager by trade, says that communication is one of his biggest strengths and an important asset for a board member. A Marine Corps veteran, he also emphasizes integrity: "If you don't have integrity, you're never going to get through tough times."
A native of rural Ringgold, Georgia, Nichols has lived in Florida for 15 years. He moved to Manatee from Santa Rosa County two years ago. While in Santa Rosa, he served on the Santa Rosa County Planning and Zoning commission, the Santa Rosa County Tourist development committee and that county's Chamber of Commerce.
Nichols says that many members of the current board are responsible for some or many of the financial problems the district is now faced with, depending on how long they have been there and how many faulty budgets they passed. He thinks voters should hold them accountable by bringing in new blood.
Nichols says he is supportive of Superintendent Rick Mills. "He's made some mistakes and I think that would be expected," he said, while praising what he called his professionalism and adding he believes Mills "has the mentality" to move the district in a positive direction.
Nichols has been married to his wife Jodi for 16 years; they have three sons and one grandchild. He describes himself as a voracious reader who enjoys Ernest Hemingway novels and also likes to play the guitar and have fun outdoors.
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