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Wonder Files to Run Against Whitmore for BOCC At-Large Seat


BRADENTON – Democrat Terri Wonder has filed to run for the Manatee County Commission District 6 at-large seat in the 2014 election. The seat is currently occupied by former Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore, a Republican, who has already filed to run for a third term. Wonder says that her platform includes promoting environmental conservation, common sense economic development and the preservation of unique neighborhoods that help to distinguish Manatee County. 


Wonder giving public comment durng the Long Bar

Pointe Meeting. Photo by John Rehill

A second generation Florida native, Wonder says she is also focused on urban development, creating resilient communities, government transparency and local tax issues.

“Manatee County must respect and protect all of its resources – human and natural,” Wonder said. “Some people treat the environment and economy as either-or choices, but that’s a false argument. The environment and economy are both important and they depend on each other. Sarasota Bay is a major economic engine for Manatee County, benefiting tourism, fishing, boating, water recreation, local real estate value and our quality of life.”

Wonder emerged as a public figure during the recent Long Bar Pointe issue, where developers sought major changes in an approved development on an ecologically-sensitive portion of Sarasota Bay in Southwest Manatee County. Wonder opposed the project's expansion and said that the bottom line cannot be the only consideration when considering the county's long-term economic well being.

Wonder in Western Iraq in 2008

“Economic development comes in many forms,” said Wonder. “While considering new commercial projects, I will stand up for the Old Florida values and neighborhoods that define the character of Manatee County. Neighborhoods like the Historic Cortez Fishing Village, our barrier island communities, Terra Ceia, and Myakka provide thousands of our residents a cherished way of life. These same areas also attract visitors from around the world and that also benefits our local economy.”

Wonder has a PhD from the University of South Florida as well as a Masters Degree in English from the University of West Florida. She has worked for the Department of the Army in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as various locations in Iraq and Newport News, VA between 2008 and 2011, serving as a field researcher, statistician and cultural analyst. 

Wonder was part of a team of senior-level social scientists helping the US military and State Department provincial reconstruction teams in Iraq. She served in a similar capacity for the U.S. Southern Command in Miami and the U.S. Central Command in Tampa. Wonder was honored with a U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award in 2010. She lives in Bradenton with her husband Ray Wonder.

In Whitmore, Wonder will face a well-financed opponent with strong support from local developers, medical service providers and other business interests. In 2010, Commissioner Whitmore easily fended off a challenge from Democratic candidate Sundae Knight, beating Knight by 38 points after outspending her $89,285.00 to $5,060.30.


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