Mike Rahn has been a breath of fresh air on the Manatee County Commission. Elected last November, Rahn ran on a campaign of conservative values and a business approach to our county government. 

I spoke with Rahn recently as he reached the half-year mark in office. Rahn noted that there are many issues that Manatee County is facing but infrastructure stands at the forefront. Our county has experienced rapid growth and finally the county commission is putting a laser focus on investing in our infrastructure. Rahn believes the investment in roads and utilities will make life much more pleasant for our citizens. 

Building the other side of the Ft. Hammer bridge is an important part of our investments in roads. Finishing this project will provide a north south freeway from Sarasota to Hillsborough county. This will be a reliever road for Interstate 75. Rahn and the other commissioners have been lobbying the federal government and the state government for financial aid for this essential infrastructure project.

Rahn is also focused on the DeSoto bridge project that will help alleviate the traffic congestion around the Manatee River.

 Rahn has also been a proponent of “tiny housing” projects that would offer affordable housing opportunities for many of our citizens. “The lack of affordable work-force housing is hurting our county residents,” Rahn said.

Mike Rahn also is a proponent of housing for homeless families and single women. The Sheriff’s substation at 57th Street will be a perfect solution for a shelter for families and single women. This would free up more beds at the Salvation Army for single men. 

Commissioner Rahn is also focused on the search for a new county administrator. Rahn is happy with the performance of deputy administrators De Pol and Bishop. He believes that we should not hire a bureaucrat for the county administrator position. Often county administrators take the easy route of growing the budget and keeping the employees happy while ignoring the taxpayers. Rahn believes that it is important to find a “red-state” administrator who has experienced growth but knows how to keep the budget under control. Rahn said: “He or she must understand growth and our philosophy of less government and less bureaucracy. 

Chairman of the Manatee County Commission, Kevin Van Ostenbridge said: “Rahn has hit the ground running in his first year. I think his time on the Planning Commission helped prepare him to be a county commissioner.”

Too often we have had county commissioners who enjoyed the perks of the job without putting in the time learning how the county works. Mike Rahn has invested time and energy in learning what it takes to make Manatee County successful.

Bob Spencer
Manatee Herald

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