Joe Neunder

VENICE — Joe Neunder will be a one-term City Council member, but he’s hoping to swap his place on the Venice dais for one at the Sarasota County level.

Neunder has filed to run as a Republican for County Commissioner Al Maio’s seat, according to information of the Supervisor of Elections website.

Maio, of Nokomis, is precluded by term limits from running again to represent District 4.

“I’m running for County Commission to ensure that my three sons grow up in a safe community, receive an excellent education, and have the opportunity to chase their own version of the American Dream here in Sarasota County,” he stated in a news release announcing his candidacy.

He praised “decades of conservative leadership” in the county for making its future “bright.”

“I’ll build on that legacy by keeping taxes low, protecting the natural beauty of the environment that surrounds us, supporting our brave law enforcement officers and first responders, and championing balanced, fiscally responsible budgets,” he stated.

The election is in 2022.

Mark Hawkins, of Sarasota, also a Republican, has also filed to run.

Neither candidate has reported any fundraising activity.

Neunder was elected in 2019, so the end of his term on the City Council coincides with the end of Maio’s on the County Commission.

Since the terms don’t overlap, Neunder won’t have to resign his Council to run for the Commission.

District 4 is the biggest one in the county by area, extending from the Gulf of Mexico east to the county line with DeSoto County, north to Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota and south to include part of North Venice.

It’s sandwiched between Districts 1 and 2 to the north and 3 and 5 to the south.

The wild card for the election is whether the district lines remain that way.

The County Commission is required to redistrict based on the 2020 Census but has been advised that the numbers needed to accomplish that may not be available until September.

If the Commission undertakes redistricting for the 2022 election, it’s possible that one or both of the candidates could end up in a different district.

About Neunder

When he ran for the City Council, Neunder said, he started planning for it a year early, scheduling time out of his Sarasota chiropractic practice, Sarasota Spinal Mechanics, to attend Council meetings, meet with city officials and business leaders and attend county strategic planning sessions.

“I feel you have to do the job before you get the job,” he said.

On the Council, he’s been the city’s representative to the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization and recently attended a Commission meeting carrying a message from the City Council.

He’s a former member of the county Planning Commission and the city Historic Preservation Board.

He’s also been active with the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club, as well as the Southwest Florida Chiropractic Society.

Neunder, whose family moved to the area in the 1980s, is a graduate of Pine View School.

He and his wife, Cindy, a teacher, have three sons.

Neunder couldn’t be reached for comment.


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