New Manatee County Commissioners discuss the future

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:36 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The new Manatee County Commissioners are officially sworn in. Voters in Manatee County electing three new Republican commissioners, making the board 100% red.

Families and friends of the commissioners attended the ceremony and cheered as each one was sworn in.

The new commissioners are District 1′s Amanda Ballard, District 4′s Mike Rahn, and District 6′s Jason Bearden.

All three explained their biggest areas of emphasis for Manatee County moving forward.

Commissioner Amanda Ballard said she is focusing her time and efforts to fight the opioid epidemic.

“I’ve spent my entire life as an attorney in the child welfare system. Doing that work, I’ve seen a lot of issues children and families in are community are struggling with,” said Ballard. “One of the biggest is the opioid crisis. I think we need to treat that issue like the true crisis that it is. Make sure that we have the funding that we need to deal with the problem on both the prevention side and treatment side for people who are suffering.”

Both Mike Rahn and Jason Bearden said they are planning on fixing the county’s infrastructure problem.

“I think the infrastructure is always going to be a big issue. We know we’re somewhere about 15 years behind. The current board has already made some decisions on things they’ve done to help move the infrastructure issues forward,” said Rahn. “Out east they’re already taking care of those problems out there with those infrastructure problems out there. But, we need a lot of help inside the urban core of Manatee County.”

Bearden concurs.

“Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Anything we can do to catch up with our infrastructure is going to be at the forefront of my mind. To really focus and hone in on that because I believe if we can catch up on our infrastructure everything else will fall into place,” Bearden said.