“It’s refreshing to see all the young people in Sarasota engaged and concerned about city politics.” – Kelvin Lumpkin; Candidate for City Commission 

Young Advocates of Sarasota Meet the Candidates Forum

Young Advocates of Sarasota Meet the Candidates Forum

On March 8, 2013 The Young Advocates for Sarasota gathered at the HuB  from 6:30-7:30pm along with the six candidates running for city commission; Suzanne Atwell, Susan Chapman, Richard Dorfman, Linda Holland, Kelvin Lumpkin and Pete Theisen. With two seats open and an election on March 12th, the young advocate co-chairs and commentators for the evening Rachel Denton and Rochelle Dudley wanted to open up a forum where young professionals could get to know the candidates in a more intimate informal setting.

Well attended candidate forum

Well attended candidate forum

After the meeting I asked a few of the young professionals in attendance what their thoughts were about the evening in general. Overall everyone was impressed all six candidates showed up and they enjoyed seeing how each candidate answered the same question. Here is what they had to say:

Christian Ziegler

This was a good event put on by the Young Advocacy Group. There trying to get this group up and running so it was nice to see to see the commissioners respect the young vote and respect the young demographic by coming out and being in attendance. There are two pro-business, pro-growth guys that are really looking to make this city better and that would be Richard Dorfman and Kelvin Lumpkin in my views. I look forward to supporting them.

Kelly Dowd

I’m not a Sarasota city resident, but I do a lot of work here and enjoy going out listening to live music and such. The meeting was pretty informative, nice to see all the candidates participating this evening. I liked how the questions in the beginning of the night helped to shed light on the candidate’s personalities.

Rochelle Dudley

Thought it went really well. It was a different format and I think the candidates appreciated that we made it less serious and a little more light-hearted and much more personal.

Sean Duade

( Asked the candidates a question regarding how they planed on retaining youth in Sarasota after college)

I think Richard Dorfman had the best answer of all. He seemed to address the fact that there is a problem and there is a solution that the government should allow businesses to be here and try to court them, where as the other candidates as I was listening to them, I only heard the accomplishments they had done or what they thought, they weren’t actively thinking about solutions.

Vicki Brill

I enjoyed it, I’ve been to a couple different debates, I know all the candidates so it was great to kind of spice it up. We wanted to remain professional but keep it light. We’re getting close to the end so we have to keep it entertaining as well. It’s nice to hear the candidate’s perspectives.

Frank Maggio

I work and live in downtown Sarasota. What impressed me most was that all six candidates were here. They actually took the time on a Friday night to meet with young professionals and answer their questions. I love the fact that it was a very relaxed atmosphere for the most part. The beginning was more intimate, kind of open questions to get the candidates down to the same level as everyone else in the room which is mostly young professionals. I liked their intimacy and candid-nice in the questions they answered and how they answered.  I appreciated their time.

Benjamin Dordy – Campaign Manager for Kelvin Lumpkin

I think it was a great idea to have it at the HuB which is kind of jump starting and helping to make Sarasota prosper economically. It was a very laid back atmosphere some of the questions were funny, kind of like a dating show. It got the crowd lively, showing what the young political will of Sarasota can bring.

Michael Maquet

I came with zero expectations. I’m new to the area, I wanted to know who the candidates were and make a decision on who I was going to vote for. I wanted to vote, but wanted to be sure I was informed before I voted. I think there should be more events like this.

Kelvin Lumpkin – Candidate for City Commission

It’s refreshing to see all the young people in Sarasota engaged and concerned about city politics. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen this level of involvement so if for nothing else it was totally worth to just encourage the young professionals. I hope this group continues to advocate and get more and more young people involved and if I’m elected I am going to walk side by side with the young professionals to help them and our city grow.

Get Out the Vote Jam with David Smash and his band at HuB.

Get Out the Vote Jam with David Smash and his band at HuB.

The HuB held a Get Out The Vote Jam following the meeting at 8:00pm to encourage people to vote in the city elections. Rich Swier Jr. founder of the HuB believes there is a lot at stake in this city election. He threw the complimentary party in hopes that people understand that if they don’t elect the candidates who support a vibrant downtown, a new creative economy for musicians, artists and entrepreneurs – our city will begin to fade to black. Swier has been a big supporter of Richard Dorfman and Kevin Lumpkin because of the vision they hold for the future of Sarasota.

If you live within the city limits of Sarasota and have an opportunity to be a voice for the people, be sure to go out to the polls on Tuesday March 12, 2013 and vote. If you need a guide on where the candidates stand, take a look at the chart has on their website. For information on how to vote visit



  1. Was disappointed that the candidates could not be heard by those of us not in the front rows — should have had a mic and a speaker — and there weren’t even 50 seats, some had to stand the entire time. Take that into consideration for any forums held.for the runoff.

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