Sarasota County, FL - Board of Elections

Candidate Statement

Barbara Ford-Coates (Incumbent)


A native of Virginia, Barbara Ford-Coates has lived in Sarasota County since 1972. She holds a bachelor's degree in American History from the College of William and Mary and is the only elected official in Sarasota County who has earned the national designation of Certified Public Manager through Florida State University.

Mrs. Ford-Coates joined the Tax Collector's office in 1975. She was first elected to the top position in 1984 and re-elected in 1996, 2000 and 2004 without opposition. In 1988, 1992 and 2008 she was re-elected with the highest vote count of any candidate (local, state or federal) on the Sarasota County ballot. She is the longest serving Sarasota County elected official currently in office and in May 2009 she was featured in “Biz 941” as one of the "Best Bosses" in the Sarasota area.

Her community activities have included serving as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters, on the board of the Community Foundation and currently as leader of Girl Scout Troop 254.

The late Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Ford-Coates to the 1998 Florida Constitution Revision Commission where she received the Chairman's Award for her successful efforts to provide information to the public. In 2000, she served as President of the Florida Tax Collectors Association and was selected by the American Jewish Committee as one of 12 national women leaders who were sent to Israel to participate in an educational seminar. Following her service as the 2006 President of the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers & Finance Officers, she served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties. She was honored as the 2008 Outstanding County Tax Collector in the United States.

Married to Brian Ford-Coates since 1972, their extended family includes seven daughters, three sons-in-law, and nine beautiful grandchildren.