SARASOTA COUNTY, FL — In the 2020 election, Sarasota County voters will choose the winner of the District 16 congressional race. State Rep. Margaret Good, a Democrat, challenges incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan for the role.
How to vote
As the Nov. 3 election approaches, Sarasota-area voters can submit their ballots at early voting locations, at drop-off boxes and by mail. They can also vote at their local voting precinct on Election Day.
If voting in person, either early or on Nov. 3, voters must bring a current and valid ID with their name, photo and signature. Find a full list of acceptable IDs here.
Vote-by-mail ballots may be returned using the U.S. Postal Service. The return postage for a vote-by-mail ballot is two Forever stamps or $.70. They must be received by 7 p.m. Election Day. Additionally, they can be dropped off at any early voting location. Find a list of early voting locations here. The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot has passed.
If you choose to vote in person on Nov. 3, you can look up your voting precinct online here. For your vote to count, you must vote in the precinct in which you reside. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Meet the candidates
Sarasota Patch recently sent out questionnaires to learn more about who these candidates are and where they stand on local issues. Though neither candidate submitted responses, we’ve compiled some information about them.
Democrat Margaret Good currently serves as a state representative who “has built a reputation as a legislator who reaches across the aisle to find solutions to help Florida’s working families by reducing health care costs, investing in our public education and university systems, and protecting Florida’s fragile environment, recognizing the important role our environment plays in our economy,” according to her campaign website.
She earned her law degree from University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she served as editor of the Florida Law Review and graduated with honors, her website said. She and her husband moved to Sarasota after law school. Good worked as an attorney at Matthews Eastmoore.
According to her website, she is dedicated to ending “the partisan politics that hurt working families.” She said she’ll “be a strong voice for each of the communities in the 16th district by building bridges and finding solutions to our most challenging problems.”
If elected, her priorities include rebuilding the economy post-COVID-19. She said she’ll “focus on lowering taxes for the middle class, investing in job and skill training programs, especially clean energy jobs, expanding opportunity for local businesses, and diversifying Florida’s economy,” according to her website.
Good also said that she will continue her fight to improve education funding so that every child has access to a high-quality education. She also said she’ll fight to protect health care coverage for pre-existing conditions, stand up to health insurance lobbyists, and work to ensure all citizens have access to affordable health care and prescription drugs.
“Nobody should have to choose between paying for medical treatments and paying for their groceries or rent,” she said on her website.
Other issues of importance to her are environmental protections, comprehensive immigration reform that is “humane,” ending discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, protecting women’s rights and enacting “reasonable gun-violence prevention measures.”
Learn more about Good at her campaign website.
According to his campaign website, Vern Buchanan “is a self-made businessman who knows what it takes to create jobs and jump-start the economy. He understands that America’s greatness comes from its entrepreneurial spirit and pro-growth, free-market policies.”
The incumbent U.S. representative serves on the House Ways & Means Committee, which tackles tax policy, international trade, health care, welfare and Social Security. He’s also the chair of the Tax Policy Subcommittee.
“A tireless champion for small business, Buchanan is an outspoken advocate of reforming the U.S. tax code to make it simpler, fairer and less burdensome to fuel the economy and get Americans back to work,” his website said.
Concerned by the federal government’s “out-of-control spending spree,” the first bill he introduced in Congress was a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 2007.
“The measure simply requires the federal government to live within its means just like every family in America,” his website said.
His website also said that Buchanan is “tired of the dysfunction in Washington” and promotes bipartisan collaboration.
If elected, he’ll focus on job creation and giving small businesses the tools they need to succeed. This includes tax and regulation reforms, eliminating health law mandates for businesses, supporting free and fair trade, expanding energy drilling in the United States, cracking down on China’s intellectual property rights violations and reducing the government workforce by 10 percent.
Buchanan proposes tax relief for middle-class Americans and small businesses. He’s also dedicated to protecting federal safety net programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, which affect seniors and retirees.
Learn more about Buchanan at his campaign website.
Check out a recent debate between Good and Buchanan that aired on Manatee Educational Television.