By: Manatee County Chair Mike Rahn, District 4
Not more than a few weeks into my role as chair for the Manatee County Board of
Commissioners, and I’m still excited. I’m thrilled about the potential of this board, energized by
our talented staff, and optimistic about the positive direction our county is headed. As a
taxpayer, I genuinely hope you’re as enthusiastic as I am.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons to cheer for “Team Manatee.” Through effective policy,
we’ve been able to build roads that result in less time spent in traffic and more time spent with
your family. With our focus on responsible growth, we have approved over 1,000 workforce
housing units in the last 2 years, and an additional 2,500 units are projected for 2024. These
initiatives have made Manatee County a more affordable place to live, work, and play. And just
last week, we received a letter from the Southwest Florida Water Management District
(SFWMD) showing that our continued commitment to protecting water resources in our county
has resulted in over 3800 acres of wetland and upland habitat being restored or created (with
our most recent acquisition of the Crooked River Ranch happening in December). Preserving
lands for future generations, reducing traffic, and making Manatee more affordable is an
ongoing challenge that this board will fight tooth and nail to overcome.
Thankfully, our team has all the right players. A family attorney who has made it her mission to
tackle opioid addiction and prevent homelessness, a real estate professional with a keen sense
for tourism and economic development, a fellow Marine (Semper Fi, brother) who is deeply
committed to the well-being of our vets, a commercial real estate agent with a passion for trails
and affordable housing, a man of God with enthusiasm for family parks and community
connections, and a real estate specialist with an unwavering commitment to infrastructure and
ensuring we have superior water quality.
In a lot of ways, this team is like a family. Ninety percent of the time, we are all working to give
you the best life possible, be it a new park, a new streetlight, or a new bridge. But anyone who
spent any amount of time with loved ones over the holidays knows that family members indeed
have their differences. This board is no different. At the end of the day, though, we will move
forward, we will respect and appreciate our differences, and we will deliver for you.
It might be our pristine beaches, low taxes, and consistent sunshine, but I like to think it’s the
Manatee philosophy of accountability, civility, and ethics that has people wanting to move
here. With our expanding port, thriving college system, and reduced crime rates (thanks to a
fully funded Sheriff’s Department), who can blame them? For the first time in as long as I can
remember, we can take this county to a level once thought unattainable by previous boards. If
it’s up to me and the Manatee County Board of Commissioners, expect greatness.
Mike Rahn was recently selected as chair of the Manatee County Board of County
Commissioners. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he served 13 honorable
and distinguished years. He’s a father, grandfather, local business leader, and lifetime resident.