Janet Vosburgh is up and out while the harvest moon is still shining on the Gulf of Mexico.
With dawn every morning, Vosburgh is on the path at Coquina Beach. With her iPod Nano playing Il Divo and her New Balance athletic shoes laced tight, she walks the length of the path and circles back. Along the way, she says hello to Manatee County parks employees — most seem to know her name — and other walkers and joggers.
“I’m an exercise freak,” says the energetic Vosburgh, who is running for Ward 4 commissioner in Bradenton Beach Nov. 2. “And I talk to everybody. I’m very friendly.”
Earlier this year, Vosburgh was appointed to the commission when Bob Bartelt vacated the seat to serve as mayor following the abrupt resignation of Michael Pierce. So Vosburgh has some advantages of incumbency, including, as commission liaison, friendly relationships with Bridge Street merchants.
“People already know that I am a commissioner who responds immediately, who takes care of problems,” she says as she walks the path.
But Vosburgh is excited about running for office and facing an opponent, mooring committee member Michael Harrington.
“I’m glad that I have to campaign because now, if I get in, I’ll feel like I’m really legit,” she says. “I’m very glad that there is competition.”
In addition to serving on the commission, Vosburgh has an accommodations rental business on the Island. She’s busy, and when she was asked to step in as commissioner, she said she’d have to consider the job.
“I tend to be impulsive,” she says. “I get real excited. So my new philosophy is ‘I’ll sleep on it.’”
But Vosburgh didn’t have to sleep long. She accepted the appointment and almost immediately decided to run for the office.
“I’m a very informed voter,” she says. “And I’m very much into politics. I’m patriotic. I love this country. And I feel like because I am such an informed voter that I have to do my share.”
Vosburgh describes herself as a conservative. She grew up in a nice but poor family and, learning she had to “make things happen” for herself, built a business.
Vosburgh has ties to Milwaukee, where she worked for General Electric, and to Boston, where she also worked for GE. And she lived for years in Utah, where she owned and operated a furniture and appliance store for 28 years, taught a business course at a community college and became involved in civic and political activities.
“I’m very good with money — because I never had any,” she says. “I ran a business on an absolute shoestring and made a great success of it.… I also have a lot of integrity, and I’m very honest.”
Vosburgh says her top priority is “to keep the taxes down” and she says she’s qualified for that work.
Another priority is providing Bradenton Beach businesses with the support needed to add jobs and strengthen the tax base.
“I’m very pro-business,” Vosburgh pledges.
As she reaches the southern end of the path, Vosburgh stops to say hello to a bicyclist and then to look at the sun coming up beyond the Cortez Bridge.
“I really and truly believe I live in paradise,” she says, which leads her to another priority — the conservative quest to make sure paradise remains paradise.
Jan “Janet” Vosburgh
RESIDENCY: 111 12th St. S.
OCCUPATION: Owner and manager of a rental business.
OFFICE SOUGHT: 4th ward city commissioner
FAMILY: Family in Wisconsin, Florida, Utah; many friends.
INTERESTS: Remodeling, real estate, sports and exercise.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: 4th Ward commissioner, 2005 and 2010 city charter review committees, board of adjustments, past vice president chamber of commerce – Utah, Utah citizen of the year presented by the governor, Utah Economic Development Commission.
CAMPAIGN MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS (as of Sept. 15): $1075, plus my own loan of $548.
QUOTES TO LIVE BY: “The more people you help along the way, the more successful you will be.” “Productive people are successful people.” “You have to make it happen.”
CAMPAIGN MOTTO: “Taking Action, Getting Results.”
Appointed commissioner seeks election
An Islander Q&A with Janet Vosburgh, candidate for city commissioner in Bradenton Beach’s Ward 4 in the Nov. 2 general election.
The Islander: Why did you decide to run for office in November?
Janet Vosburgh: I feel so blessed to live in Bradenton Beach on this island of Anna Maria. I feel it is my privilege and honor to serve this community.
The Islander: What are your qualifications for this office?
JV: I have an extensive business background. Additionally, I have excellent people and management skills. I enjoy problem solving — through listening, utilizing my organizational skills and implementing a plan to resolve.
The Islander: What are the three top goals/positions in your platform?
JV: Keep expenses and taxes under control and be fiscally responsible.
Protect property owner’s rights with as little intrusion from government as possible. Review current city ordinances to streamline the permit process.
Maintain the charm and uniqueness of Bradenton Beach. Making improvements when necessary for the benefit of citizens and/or visitors.
The Islander: What is your understanding of Florida’s Sunshine/Public Records laws?
JV: Cannot discuss anything that needs to be voted on, with other elected officials.
The Islander: From time to time there is talk of consolidating local governments and/or local services. How do you feel about consolidation?
JV: Needs to be looked at and acted on following citizen’s recommendations.
The Islander: Characterize the direction of the locality. Right track? Off-track? Wrong track? Explain.
JV: The city is going in the right direction, we need to maintain and keep making improvements for the best interests of citizens and/or visitors.
The Islander: Why should voters cast their ballot for you over your opponent?
JV: I believe my combination of public and business experience plus my vested interest as a private citizen of Bradenton Beach make me an ideal candidate for this position.
The Islander: What is the most significant issue facing the electorate at this time? How will you handle that issue?
JV: Global and local economy and housing foreclosures. My focus will be controlling expenses and keeping taxes down especially during this critical time.
The Islander: Local governments are beginning a new fiscal year. What is your view of the local budget/tax situation? And how do you approach government finances?
JV: Bradenton Beach did a commendable job keeping the budget at a minimum with consideration of the voters and citizens. I will approach the budget like it were my own.
The Islander: Is there a promise you want to make to voters?
JV: I will strive to maintain the charm and uniqueness of Bradenton Beach. Please know I welcome your comments and concerns and I will try my hardest to respond to your issues in a timely manner.