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Candidate Profile: School Board District 5: James Golden

Published Friday, July 25, 2014 12:02 am

BRADENTON -- James Golden, who served on the Bradenton City Council and has unsuccessfully run for both Congress and the Manatee County Commission, is one of four candidates running for the Manatee County School Board's District 5 seat in the August 26 election.

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Golden, a Jacksonville native and pastor at Bradenton’s Ward Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church, served in the U.S. Army before earning his undergraduate degree from Stetson University. Golden was an active affiliate in the University of Florida’s Black American Law Student Association while working toward his Juris Doctorate in 1974.

Upon graduation, Golden became a member of the Florida Bar, practicing law until he earned his Master of Divinity degree and left law to pursue a career as a pastoral leader.

Golden was a part of the Bradenton City Council for two terms in 1999 and 2003, where he was instrumental in the creation of the Central Community Redevelopment Area. During his time with the council, Golden became Bradenton’s Fire Commissioner, chaplain and representative on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

In 2010, Golden took on Congressman Vern Buchanan for the District 13 seat. The well-financed incumbent was considered unbeatable and though Golden lost in a 71 percent landslide, he was able to do more fundraising than expected for a seat that wasn't considered in play.

In 2012, Golden sought the District 5 seat on the Manatee County Commission, but was soundly defeated by sitting commissioner Vanessa Baugh in the general election.

In the school board race, Golden will face incumbent board member Julie Aranibar, outgoing MTI director Mary Cantrell and Carlton "Les" Nichols. If none of the four candidates secure a simple majority in the August 26 race, the top two vote getters will contest a runoff election on the November ballot.

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