Keuther Combines Real Estate Background, Smart Growth Agenda

Todays News

When Daniel Keuther first moved to Sarasota County, he worked in real estate and development at Schroeder-Manatee Ranch. Now he wants to serve on the Sarasota County Commission and reign in the same developers who once paid his salary.

“I understand where SMR has tried to influence and use their power in Sarasota and especially in Manatee County, and it’s one of the reasons I no longer work there,” Keuther said. “I couldn’t stay because I repeatedly saw what was happening.”

He’s running now for the District 4 seat on the Sarasota County Commission, where Al Maio cannot seek re-election thanks to term limits. He faces Republican Joe Neunder in the district race on Nov. 8. 

For the record, the Democrat doesn’t consider himself an anti-development candidate but rather a proponent of smart growth. The district leans red, with roughly 12,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats. But Keuther feels his own platform closely aligns with Mark Hawkins, a Republican who pulled in 26.54% of the vote in an August GOP Primary, so there’s a chance to build a winning coalition in the election. About 3,537 Republicans voted for Hawkins compared to 9,760 who voted for Neunder in August.

As a real estate professional who has worked on the professional side with developers bringing housing stock to the market, and as a citizen who has pushed for timely controls on unbridled growth, Keuther believes his would be a balanced and thoughtful approach to handling land-use decisions at the county level.

“We need to use the county commission the way it was intended, to protect the citizens of Sarasota County and make sure development does occur and does benefit all of Sarasota, and it’s not just done to benefit the developers’ pockets,” he said. “We need to prioritize the environment, not take care of issues after they happen. We should make sure every decision has an ecological perspective to it.”

Keuther said he won’t treat the county comprehensive plan like scripture that cannot be changed. At the same time, he’s been upset at decisions, including a recent one to allow greater development at Old Myakka. He felt frustrated when he and 50 others spoke up about the project, told by county commissioners they wanted to hear the input of the public, but then an application as drafted by the developer won approval with no amendments. “That was the county commission accepting the feelings of the one over the 51,” he said.

Were he on the commission, Keuther said he would have demanded any expansion in development rights be accompanied by a plan to address the deficit of affordable and attainable housing plaguing the region right now. That needs to be a greater part of every decision.

Outside of discussions about growth and infrastructure, Keuther’s candidacy holds the power to make history in the region as Sarasota’s first openly gay county commissioner. He’s married to a Sarasota native, Dr. Ryan Suplee. 

“We plan to live out our lives here,” 33-year-old Keuther said. “We are passionate about the region.”

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