BRADENTON – The Reverend James Golden has become a regular on Manatee County ballots. The former Bradenton City Councilman has run for Congress, county commission and back in 1998 he even challenged Barbara Harvey for the school board's district 2 seat. This year, he's one of three candidates vying for the district 5 spot on the board.
“I support a non partisan agenda that is designed to help every student excel in public school so that they can be competition-ready when they graduate, whether it be in academics, technology or vocational training,” Golden said in a recent debate that was televised by Manatee Education Television.
Golden addressed the schism between “east and west” in the county and has long advocated for a more “collegial” relationship among board members who he feels are too contentious.
Golden says that 20 years of his church's summer enrichment program gives him plenty of experience in dealing with education. The church previously applied to run a charter school within the district but was denied.
Golden says that if elected, he would work hard to regain the trust of students, parents and taxpayers who he says have told him that they are less than satisfied with the current board.
Golden faces incumbent school board chair Julie Aranibar , Carlton "Les" Nichols and former Manatee Technical Institute Director Mary Cantrell in a four-way non-partisan race on the August 26 primary. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes (50 percent plus one vote), the top two will compete in a runoff on the November general election ballot.
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