Candidate Statement

Shawna Machado

As an advocate for children in families, I am an engaged resident and citizen of Sarasota County. I am a graduate of The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF-SM) campus. In May 2012, I was awarded the Outstanding Gradate Award and the Florida Commission on the Status of Women Achievement Award, for my community action.

In 2008, while working with families that were dealing with medical hardships, I founded and facilitated a support group within the SW Wellness Community, which is still actively meeting today. In 2010 while attending USF-SM, I was the president of the Social Justice Committee. My responsibilities included working towards educating the community on social issues. At the same time, I was an advocate working with families suffering through the results of domestic violence.

I personally experienced challenges throughout my education years, and I realized that all people, even those suffering human hardships, need a voice; that stereotypes need public awareness; and that change only comes from collaborating for a common goal. While attending college, the economy imploded and I found myself out of work, after working as a medical professional for over seven years. Without any source of income, I was forced to vacate my apartment. I had difficulty obtaining any other full-time employment. I had not completed my degree and my experience in the workforce was minimal. Continuing to push forward, I resolved to living in my car but I did not give up. I continued in college and finished my degree without a home. The emotional stress this circumstance brought to my life was often overwhelming, but I did not give up! I found a way to become a part of the solution and volunteered to help others in my same predicament, and without a voice. I believe there is an awareness that comes from hardship and we can use the awareness in a positive way to be a constructive role model for others. I never gave up, I finished my degree, and I found work where I could help others.

Currently, I work as an adoption specialist for The Safe Children Coalition in Sarasota County advocating for children who have been abused and/or neglected. I serve on the Board of the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, and I am on the Commission on the Status of Women, Sarasota County. I will be moving forward with my Master’s Degree at USF-SM in August 2014, in social work. I plan to focus on government policy change and working with my community to invoke positive change.

My future goal is to create a community where all citizens can thrive. We are all a necessary asset to our community and we must work together collaboratively to bring the proper services to people in need. Having advocated for families in less fortunate circumstances I understand, they need a voice in Government. As your next Charter Review Board Member, I will work towards insuring the Charter of Sarasota County is inclusive and respectful to all the people. I support an Independent Ethical Council to keep our County at the highest level of integrity. In order for elections to be fair, I believe no one should be locked out of a primary election, therefore I support non-partisan elections. Every citizen, every race, every culture, every gender deserves a voice. I will listen to the people.

“I often tell people that this century should be century of dialogue. Peace will not come from thought or from Buddha. Peace must be built by humans, through action. So that means, whenever we face problem — dialogue. That's the only way.”
--The Dalai Lama