News Section: Election 2012
Former Mayor Bill Evers Endorses Richard O'Brien
BRADENTON – Bill Evers knows a thing or two about the City of Bradenton. Through two decades of formative growth and transition, Evers served as the city's Mayor. Winning the office in 1980, he held it until being unseated by current incumbent Wayne Poston in 2000, whom he came back to run against twice. This time around, the always-political Evers is throwing his endorsement behind Richard O'Brien, one of two other candidates seeking Poston's office in November.
Former Bradenton Mayor Bill Evers
photo by Dennis Maley
"Anyone who might choose to vote for one of the other two candidates has an easy job in making their selection," quipped Evers. “All they have to do is flip a coin and they're guaranteed to get four more years of the same old, same old. They're two peas in a pod."
Evers told me he wasn't sure why City Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey was challenging Poston, failing to notice any meaningful disparity in their positions on major issues, but also noted that it wasn't just a lack of enthusiasm for the other candidates, but his genuine excitement for the young and charismatic O'Brien that prompted him to lend his support.
"I have gotten to know Richard quite well," said Evers. "We've had lots of talks about Bradenton's future, its needs and how to meet those needs while still looking out for the taxpayers. I've found Richard to be very intelligent, but with common sense, mixed in with lofty ideas. He's genuine. He will tell it like it is – but he'll do it with more tact and diplomacy than I might have been known to on occasion," laughed Evers.
The former Mayor said he was drawn to O'Brien's open-mindedness, calling him an "independent thinker who listens to all sides and isn't beholden to developers and other special interests." He made his endorsement official at the opening of O'Brien's downtown campaign headquarters on Friday where a crowd of about 50 supporters had gathered for the ribbon cutting.
Mayoral Candidate Richard O'Brien
photo by Dennis Maley
O'Brien recently released a four-part initiative to stimulate the local economy. He says his "Locally-Focused Recovery Plan, in conjunction with a wide scope review of how efficiently the city’s resources and services are managed and allocated, will put Bradenton on track to achieving its potential as a great city to live and work." He says he wants to focus on an intensive buy local campaign to help keep money in the local economy, while reducing layoffs.
O'Brien grew up in Sarasota and attended Culver Military Academy before earning his B.A. from American University and then his masters degree from Georgetown. He currently teaches at USF Sarasota-Manatee and spent four years in Washington, D.C. at the Center for Prevention and Genocide, a human rights group that monitored and exposed violations to the U.S. government and International bodies. He lives in Bradenton with his wife Ani and their newborn twins.
O'Brien faces Poston and Barnebey in a three-way, non-partisan mayoral race on the November 6 ballot. A ballot initiative passed during the August 14 primary elections has eliminated the runoff requirement if no candidate gets a majority of the votes cast. Whichever candidate receives the most votes on November 6 will be Mayor of Bradenton.
|Evers Makes his endorsement official||O'Brien addresses a crowd of supporters|
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