Southeast / Florida 980 Views

Fredd Atkins along with his wife, Shelia shown looking at a map of the District

SARASOTA – Former three-term Sarasota Mayor Fredd Atkins proudly walked into the Supervisor of Elections office this morning at 8 am with his wife Shelia and filed as a candidate for Sarasota County Commissioner, District 1. He is the first candidate in that district to file under the new singledistrict system. If elected in November 2020, he would be the first Democrat to serve on the board in 50 years and the first African American male. “This is an historic election for the county, and certainly for me,” said Atkins. “For too long this commission has turned its back on the citizens of the county by allowing over-development, ignoring key environmental issues and not facilitating access to affordable housing for everyone,” said Atkins.

“I plan to move our county forward on these issues by being the first one to break the shackles of the one-party Republican monopoly and its special interests. Our quality of life is at stake here,”

he said. “Our current county commissioner has voted the party line, and has not represented the interests of our district or even the county at large,” he said. “Fredd is an icon in this district,” said Sarasota City Commissioner and former Mayor Willie C. Shaw. “As a social worker, teacher, entrepreneur, city commissioner and mayor, he has the experience to lead Sarasota County into the future. He will be an honest and independent county commissioner, really serving the people of District 1 for the first time, and serving all citizens in the county.” 

Atkins is a life-long resident of Sarasota. He was born in the old Overtown segregated district and moved to Newtown in 1958, where he is fondly known to everyone. As commissioner and mayor he accomplished many things for the city including: establishing Sarasota Bay as a National Estuary Destination; building an Advance Wastewater Treatment facility in the City; and building the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex.

“I plan to work tirelessly to win this race and to do the same positive things for the county. We know we can win,”

said Atkins. He pointed out that he won District 1 in 2016 when there were still at large county-wide elections. The district currently has a Democratic voter registration edge. The race will be a competitive one, according to most observers. District 1 covers much of northern and eastern Sarasota County. It includes world-class educational institutions such as New College of Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design. It also includes top artistic venues such as the Ringling Museum and the Asolo Theater. It is home to Myakka River State Park and the Celery Fields. It is also a regional commerce hub, including Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) and University Parkway, Fruitville Road, and US 301.

“If the commission does not gerrymander this district, we definitely will be favored to win. If they do change the district, we will just work harder. We have a loyal and energetic team of volunteers determined to win this election -from all backgrounds that represent the diversity of the district,”

he said. 

Atkins will kick off his campaign with a fundraiser on Wednesday Sept. 25 at The Columbus Banquet Hall, 4880 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota 34232. To sponsor or attend, please call 941-315-4213. For more information and to donate to the Atkins campaign, go to