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Get to know your local candidates

The upcoming elections feature a slew of candidates ranging in much more than just their political affiliations. We've compiled a couple bios to help you fill out that ballot. The Primary Election will take place on Aug. 28; the General Election will take place on Nov. 6.

County Commission Race, District 2

Ruta Jouniari, Democrat

Jouniari, a Sarasota businesswoman and community activist, earned a B.S. in Finance and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts. She began her career with Aetna U.S. Healthcare, developing markets in Boston and Tampa. 


In 2004, disenchanted with the insurance industry, Journiari founded her own company, ISG, Inc., an international staffing company works with the federal government to place veterans in good jobs that allow them to utilize their specialized skills. Her experience in the healthcare arena motivated her to co-found the Universal Crescent Clinic, a 501 c3 nonprofit, that provides free medical care to people without insurance. Ruta currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and volunteers at the clinic on Saturdays.


Jouniari will run in the General Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access her website here.

Alexandra Coe, Republican

After earning her B.L.A. from New College of Florida in Botany and Anthropology, the Ohio transplant left Florida to continue her studies at Goucher College where she earned an M.A. in Organizational Management and Cultural Sustainability. 


Coe has been involved in several organizations including the Republican Liberty Caucus and the Sarasota County Historic Preservation Advisory Board. She started a charter school focused on pioneer culture and agriculture, the owner of GentleStorm Productions, and operates a small farm and coop with a social media presence @swampcastlefarm.


Coe will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access her website here.

Christian Ziegler, Republican

Ziegler graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor's in Political Science and Criminology.

He began working for Republian U.S. Congressman, Vern Buchanan, U.S. Senator, Scott Brown, and Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, before running for office on his own. Ziegler was elected as Sarasota County State Committeeman in 2012 and 2016. Ziegler was one of the 304 Republican Electors whose votes elected President Donald J. Trump.

Outside of his political career, Ziegler is a regular contributor to ABC7, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Miami Herald. He founded Microtargeted Media, LLC, a digital marketing agency in Sarasota.

Ziegler will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access his website here.

County Commission Race District 4

Wesley Anne Beggs, Democrat

Raised in Tampa, Beggs relocated to Sarasota to attend New College of Florida where she received a B.L.A. in Political Science.

After graduating, Beggs created a marketing and media agency focused on local businesses and organizations. Outside of her career, Beggs has volunteered with schools in the area such as Sarasota Military Academy, Riverview High School and Sarasota High School. Beggs received funding for educating students on non violent conflict resolution. She has also worked with SailFuture, a peer mentorship program in collaboration with Booker High School. Her campaign is focused on affordable housing, economic growth and sustainability. 

Beggs has stated that she comes from a family of public servants, with her great-great uncle, G.V. Leland, the former City Manager of St. Petersburg, who commissioned the City Hall in use today.

Beggs will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access her website here.

Mike Cosentino, Democrat

Mike Cosentino first hit headlines with his "Reopen Beach Road" campaign that was profiled in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sarasota Magazine and the Sarasota Observer.

The Reopen Beach Road campaign is to overturn a decision by the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners that sold the last remaining public land located on Beach Road. 

You can find more information on his website.

Alan Maio, Republican

Maio graduated from Seton Hall University where he received his Bachelor's in Accounting. Hall had previously served in the military before being honorably discharged.

A businessman, Maio has owned several restaurants, a consulting agency and vacation rental business. Maio's career has also involved community engagement, such as the Sarasota County Code Enforcement Board and the Sarasota County Board of Zoning Appeals.


Maio will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access his website here.

Lourdes Ramirez, Republican

Ramirez was born and raised in New York City before relocating to Sarasota in 1999. She obtained her M.B.A. from Iona College.

Ramirez, a businesswoman, has owned a retail store and two marketing and business agencies. She has been awarded the Citizen of the Year Award for 2012 and 2014. 

Politically, she has been involved in organizations such as the Sarasota Republican Club, the Republican Women's Club of Sarasota, League of Women Voters of Sarasota and the Republican Executive Committee, where she was in charge of the Voter Action Team. 

Ramirez will run in the Primary Election for Sarasota County Commissioner. You can access her website here.

Sarasota School Board, District 1

This is a nonpartisan race.  All registered voters can vote for School Board in the August 28th primary.  This race will be decided in August.

Nick Guy

Guy is a graduate of the University of Toledo where he studied Adolescent Education and History. He is running for School Board, District 1.


The Ohioan moved to Florida after accepting a teaching job  the Pinellas County School District. He would later leave his position to become an analyst for a national health care company.


Nick Guy is running for the District 1 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election. You can access his website here.

Bridget Ziegler

Ziegler, a graduate of  Florida International University's School of Business. She is the current Sarasota County School Board Chair and is seeking reelection for District 1. 


Ziegler was appointed in 2014, after having been appointed by Governor Rick Scott to fill a vacancy. She has spent four years on the board, campaigning for a #StudentFirst policies.



Bridget Ziegler is running for the District 1 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election. You can access her website here.

Sarasota County School Board, District 4

This is a nonpartisan race.  All registered voters can vote for School Board in the August 28th primary.  This race will be decided in August.

Shirley Brown

Brown is seeking reelection to the District 4 seat. She has been a member of the School Board since 2006. She served as Sarasota County's first female legislator from 1992 to 2000. This will be her second time seeking reelection.

Brown is a member of the League of Women Voters.

Brown is running for the District 4 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election. You can access her website here.

Karen Rose, District 4

Rose is running for the District 4 seat on the Sarasota School Board. She has served as a teacher and administrator for 28 years at for Sarasota county. 


She has previously served as Executive Director of middle schools for the district.



Rose is running for the District 4 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election. You can access her website here.

Sarasota County School Board, District 5 

This is a nonpartisan race.  All registered voters can vote for School Board in the August 28th primary.  If any candidate receive over 50% of the vote in the August 28th primary they will be elected without having to advance to the November ballot.

Pamela Gavette

Gavette is the third generation of her family to reside in Sarasota. She was a student in Sarasota County, the parent of children attending school in this district and has served as a substitute teacher in Sarasota County. 


Gavette is a member of the Pine View School Pine View Association and Pine View’s Shared Decision-Making Team as well as the Pine View School Advisory Council for 10 years.



Gavette is running for the District 5 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election. You can access her website here.

Jane Goodwin

Goodwin has been involved in organizations such as Any Given Child, Citizens for Better Schools and the State Music Education Association Board. She is the legislative chair of the Florida School Board Association (FSBA). 


She has also worked as a teacher in the Sarasota County School district. Her two grandchildren currently attend public school in the area.


Goodwin is running for the District 5 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election. You can access her website here.

Richard Linden

Linden studied Biology at Cornell University before obtaining his MBA from the University of Chicago. He originally worked in non profit management before making a career switch to become a teacher.

He has spent 18 years as a Science teacher in Connecticut and Sarasota. He has previously taught at Cardinal Mooney and Venice High School.


Linden is running for the District 5 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election.


Justin Cody Willis

A resident of North Port, Florida, Willis is the co-owner of a test prep center for Nursing Assistant examinations. He is a parent of several students attending public school. 


Willis is running for the District 5 seat on the Sarasota School Board in the Primary Election. You can access his website here.