Sarasota County, FL - Board of Elections

Candidate Statement

Linda Yates (Incumbent)

"Yates Relates"

Moving the community forward with diligence, integrity and efficiency!

Dear fellow citizens,

It has been an honor to serve you for the past three years. Prior to serving on the Commission, I worked in management, marketing and public relations for over 29 years. As a small business owner, I specialized in managing trade show events, public speaking and business consulting. In the course of my business I wrote and published a book on business strategies as well as numerous training manuals and quarterly publications for freight transportation entrepreneurs. I also made appearances as a featured speaker on national radio and at international conventions and coached many individuals pursuing new careers.

Originally from New York, in 1987 I moved to Ohio where I met my husband. We have been married 22 years, have a daughter and 3 grandchildren and have lived in North Port for eight years. I have been involved in various civic and business organizations including: the Society of North Port Performing Arts Center; North Port Area Women’s Club, North Port Area Chamber of Commerce; Port Charlotte Chamber of Commerce; Toledo Blade Business Group; North Port High School Booster Club and the Costal Wildlife Club.

I continue to volunteer and participate with local community initiatives including the Drug-Free Youth, Project Graduation, Food Drives and other programs focused on education, arts, culture, environment and public safety. I am also a participant in the National League of Cities Leadership Training Institute and the Florida League of Cities University and completed over 15 courses for elected officials on various topics including ethics, land use planning, economic development, pensions, human resources and labor relations. I served as the City representative on various agency committees including:
• Policy Committee of the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary
• FLC Urban Administration Committee
• FLC Energy and Environmental Committee
• FLC Transportation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee
• NLC Transportation and Infrastructure Steering Committee
• NLC Youth and Family Council
• Manasota League of Cities
• Sarasota Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization

Since my election in 2010, I have demonstrated my reliability in serving as the voice always looking out for the public, researching issues, listening to concerns, asking tough questions and challenging the status quo. Equally important is my continuous communication and accessibility to all residents and businesses. I don’t hesitate to speak up in the effort to protect the public’s interest and some examples include my emphasis on reducing attorney fees; persistence in keeping Bayflite in North Port; opposition to the joint purchase of Warm Mineral Springs without having an agreed concept plan; advocacy in keeping the Springs open for swimming while working on a long term plan; opposition to placing a referendum on the 2014 ballot to repeal the City Districting that was approved by voters in 2012; pursuing a lien reduction policy; eliminating inefficient programs; advocacy for sensible assessments and supportive of policies for streamlining permitting and facilitating business and job growth.

My emphasis on efficiencies, reducing spending, keeping taxes low and improving governing policies and practices, has helped strengthen the foundation for North Port to succeed in the new economy. Based on previous spending trends prior to 2010, the City was on the verge of depleting its general fund reserves by 2013. Through cost cutting measures, consolidation, reprioritizing projects and strategic use of surplus reserves, at the close of fiscal year 2013 the general fund reserve balance was at 10.7 million.

Despite the recession, today North Port is thriving and during my first term has accomplished:
• Operational efficiencies,
• Maintained adequate reserves,
• Preserved excellent bond ratings
• Enhanced public services,
• Elevated community pride,
• Received national and regional recognition
• Continued growth every year in population, businesses and jobs.
• Completed vital infrastructure projects
• Established better communications to engage and inform citizens

Over the past few years, North Port has attracted national retailers as well as a state of the art assisted living facility anticipated to generate 370 jobs and has been recognized as 1 of the top 100 places in the nation for business and careers; 2nd most affordable community nationally; among the top 15 cleanest cities in the USA and among the top 10 small cities to move to.

While much has been accomplished there is more to be done and I am committed to continue working on:
• Improving practices and codes
• Workforce programs in conjunction with a new vocational training center (SCTI)
• Strategic planning for a downtown center
• Infrastructure improvements
• Ensuring fair & equal opportunity for all businesses
• Improving our canals for recreational uses
• Highlighting our natural assets to attract tourism
• Implementing business friendly policies to attract jobs

On a state and national level, I continuously advocate on legislative issues that impact North Port including CDBG, CST, Sober Homes, municipal bond tax exemptions, transportation funding and other matters. Given the opportunity to continue serving, I will be one of only two commissioners with experience prior to 2012 and will apply my knowledge to continue moving forward keeping in stride with the community's vision of a City that is fiscally responsible, environmentally friendly, safe, clean, attractive and vibrant with diverse opportunities.

I am always accessible to answer questions and listen to concerns or ideas. Please contact me at 941-423-5332 or visit my website for more information and details regarding my service and views of community priorities.

Linda Yates

"The bridge to tomorrow is strengthened through the prosperity of our citizens today. Together, we the people can make a difference."