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Sarasota activist, former city official Kathy Kelley Ohlrich files to run against Arroyo

Sarasota activist, former city official Kathy Kelley Ohlrich files to run against Arroyo
A Sarasota activist and former city official announced she will challenge incumbent Eric Arroyo to represent District 3 on the Sarasota City Commission.

Kathy Kelley Ohlrich has been involved in local politics both inside and outside of City Hall, serving on Sarasota’s Disability Advisory and Planning Boards, as well as the Glen Oaks Ridge representative for the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations.

“For the past few years, the city commissioners have made decisions without taking into consideration the needs and wants of their constituents, despite the significant impact these decisions have on neighborhoods. That’s unacceptable,” Ohlrich said in a statement.

The Wisconsin native said she first visited Sarasota in 1976 and made the city her permanent home about 30 years later. Ohlrich told the Herald-Tribune she wanted to focus her campaign on the city’s affordable housing crisis and on the proliferation of short-term rental properties, issues she said go hand-in-hand.

Ohlrich also emphasized her desire to keep private development out of public parks. As an activist, she said she worked against proposals of the sort at Bobby Jones, Payne Park, and Paul Thorpe Park. She used the recent discourse over a private development proposal at Ken Thompson Park to criticize Arroyo for his lack of disclosure of his ties to the business behind the pitch.

“Too many people feel like Eric doesn’t care about them. He dismisses their thoughts and concerns, and they feel like he’s abandoned them in favor of his donors and his friends,” Ohlrich said. “That’s not how a representative form of government should work.”

Arroyo and Ohlrich are the only two candidates who have filed to run to represent District 3 so far. The incumbent commissioner has yet to report any financial contributions, while his challenger has reported a $1,000 contribution to herself in late 2023, according to city records.

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Arroyo faces challenger in Sarasota City Commission District 3 race

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