News Section: Election 2012
Candidate Profile: City of Bradenton Mayor: Richard O'Brien
Candidate: Richard O'Brien
Occupation: International Relations professor at USF Sarasota-Manatee
Education: Graduate of Culver Military Academy; B.A. American University; M.A. Georgetown University
Richard O'Brien brings a unique background and energy to the three-way mayoral race in the city of Bradenton – as well as a big, red, hard to miss, double-decker campaign bus. The college professor and former Washington policy group head has offered several new ideas in the debate as to how to best transition the city into an economic hub during challenging fiscal times.
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 International Relations at USF Sarasota-Manatee and spent four years in Washington, D.C. at the Center for Prevention and Genocide, a human rights group he founded that monitored and exposed violations to the U.S. government and International bodies. O'Brien lives in Bradenton with his wife Ani and their newborn twins.
O'Brien has earned the endorsement of former 20-year Mayor Bill Evers, as well as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 173, a local union that represents many employees, including workers at Tropicana Products. O'Brien has advocated a massive buy-local campaign, as well as programs that would help connect local workers with employers throughout the regional area. While he advocates the promotion of downtown business development, O'Brien also recognizes the need to connect up and coming areas like Village of the Arts by addressing the tattered neighborhoods of downtown that reside between the two.
“Our city is currently facing an important moment in its history,” said O'Brien. “We're making big investments that our children and grandchildren will ultimately be left to pay for, and it's important that we get it right, that we have a comprehensive and well-articulated plan that we share with the taxpayers. We can't just throw millions of dollars against the wall and hope that some of it sticks. The sort of success we're looking for takes planning, it takes vision and it takes leadership.”
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