For Immediate Release – Critical Hearing on Celery Fields August 23rd

SARASOTA, FLORIDA – The Sarasota County Democratic Party (SCDP) is encouraging local residents to attend a critical hearing being held by the Sarasota County Commission on August 23rd on the future of the endangered Celery Fields.

The county commission has scheduled the hearing to determine whether to permit an industrial waste processing facility to be built on a 16-acre land parcel near the Celery Fields, an internationally known bird sanctuary and wildlife habitat.

“This facility should never have been proposed for that location,” said JoAnne DeVries, Chair of the SCDP. “We should be protecting and nurturing our precious natural habitats, not destroying them.” The SCDP is on record as opposing the proposed rezoning of the nearby property.

DeVries noted that not only would the proposed rezoning be harmful to the Celery Fields, a popular tourist attraction and recreation area where the Audubon Society has created a visitors center, but to residents near the land parcel at Palmer and Apex Roads. Dump trucks would travel through the adjoining neighborhoods daily, carrying toxic waste, and the noise and contaminated dust particles from the waste processing facility itself would endanger neighborhoods and schools in the area.

“We urge the Sarasota County Commission to deny this short-sighted proposal and to designate what have long been public lands adjacent to Celery Fields as parkland and wildlife habitat, not as industrial use,” DeVries said.

The County Planning Commission recently voted unanimously to deny the application for the construction of a toxic waste facility on the property, but the full county commission is not bound by that decision and can approve the proposal.

DeVries urged county residents to attend the August 23rd hearing, which will be held at the County Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The SCDP represents more than 94,000 Democrats in Sarasota County. To learn more about the Sarasota County Democratic Party, visit

For additional information, contact
JoAnne DeVries, Chair
Sarasota County Democratic Party

For Immediate Release – SCDP Applauds Community Activists

SARASOTA, FL – The Sarasota County Democratic Party (SCDP) applauds the community activists who successfully lobbied the County Planning Commission to deny an application on Thursday for a recycling facility near Celery Fields. “The Party stands along the side of its community citizens and all voters on this issue.”

The planning commission voted unanimously to deny that application for a recycling center near Celery Fields just east of Interstate 75 after a months-long campaign by community residents and local organizations, including the SCDP. (Photo Credit: Herald Tribune Staff/Zach Murdock)

“This facility should never have been proposed for that location,” said SCDP Chair JoAnne DeVries. “The rezoning or sale of public lands for light or heavy industrial use near an internationally recognized wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary was a terrible idea from the very beginning. And it would not only be harmful to the Celery Fields, but also to the residents of nearby neighborhoods, what with the increased truck traffic and toxic pollution that would result.”

DeVries noted that the matter is not yet fully resolved, since the application now goes to the full Sarasota County Commission, which is not bound by the decision of the planning board. “The SCDP will continue to oppose the application,” DeVries said, “and I hope our fellow citizens continue their opposition as well.”

The SCDP passed a resolution in March opposing any rezoning or sale of public lands for light or heavy industrial use at the proposed recycling facility’s location at Palmer and Apex Roads.

The SCDP represents more than 94,000 Democrats in Sarasota County. To learn more about the Sarasota County Democratic Party visit

For Additional Information, contact
JoAnne DeVries, Chair
Sarasota County Democratic Party


Single Member District Petition



IT HAS BEEN OVER 50 YEARS SINCE A DEMOCRAT HAS SERVED ON THE SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION!  Or for that matter anyone other than a Republican and one blessed by the Party Establishment at that!  The Party Establishment that gave Donald Trump their Statesman of the Year Award not once, but twice!!!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  WE NEED YOU TO TAKE ACTION TODAY!   Please download the petitions being circulated by the non-partisan PAC Sarasota Alliance for Fair Elections, print a few copies, sign them, have your neighbors regardless of party affiliation sign them, and return them to the address on the petition or to your Democratic Party Precinct Captain, your local Democratic Party Club or Caucus, or the Sarasota County Democratic Party Headquarters at 7358 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota 34231 .

Click on this link to download the petitions:

As soon as 15,000 of each petition are validated by the Supervisor of Elections a vote will be scheduled and we will be one step closer to restoring democracy to Sarasota County Government.  DON’T WAIT, DOWNLOAD, PRINT, SIGN and RETURN THESE PETITIONS TODAY!

These petitions put changes to our County Charter on the ballot for all voters to decide.  Changes that make our process for electing County Commissioners and Charter Review Board Members more local, more open to more candidates and less subject to manipulation by large corporate donors.


Thank you,


   JoAnne DeVries, Chair
   Sarasota County Democratic Party

Resolution in Support of Voting Rights Restoration Amendment #14-01 Petition


Please click here to be directed to the petition: 

Whereas, Florida has one of the most punitive disenfranchisement policies in the country, permanently barring all citizens with felony convictions from voting unless they individually apply to the state Office of Executive Clemency for rights restoration.

Whereas, this policy bars more than 1.7 million Floridians – including more than one in five African-Americans in the state – from the polls. Florida has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the country.

Whereas, under Governor Rick Scott only 2,400 felons have had their voting rights restored compared to 150,000 under Governor Charlie Crist.

Whereas, in Florida it is far easier for a convicted felon to restore their right to carry a concealed weapon than to restore their right to vote.

Therefore, the Sarasota County Democratic Party supports Floridians for a Fair Democracy and their petition drive to place on the ballot a Constitutional Amendment to restore felons voting rights after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.

We encourage our members to sign this petition and will provide support in gathering the petitions and with copying, printing and mailing of petitions.  We also respectfully request that the Florida Democratic Party adopt this as a Statewide Issue.

Please click here to be directed to the petition:




SARASOTA, FL – The Sarasota County Democratic Party is deeply disappointed, but not surprised, that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives — including our own congressmen, Vern Buchanan and Tom Rooney –have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act today.  In doing so, they have voted to take away health care from as many as 24 million Americans and put millions of people with pre-existing conditions in life-threatening danger.  In the process, they have also given themselves, and other rich Americans, a huge tax cut.

Instead of doing the hard work of improving the insurance program on which so many Americans now depend, Republicans have taken the easy path of following the dictates of the radical right-wing ideology now holding sway in the House.  Simply put, Buchanan and Rooney, and all the other Republicans who have voted for this disastrous so-called health plan, have chosen to put their own political lives and personal fortunes ahead of the very real lives of many less-fortunate Americans.

Floridians and other Americans are not stupid.  They know that this bill will not help Americans.  We ask our senators to call a halt to this nonsense before people are hurt, and we will hold Rooney and Buchanan accountable for their outrageous lack of concern for our fellow citizens.

For Additional Information, contact:
JoAnne DeVries, Chair
Sarasota County Democratic Party

Press Release – Sarasota County Democratic Party Supports Hagen Brody and Jennifer Ahearn-Koch for City Commission

The Sarasota County Democratic Party (SCDP) is proud to support Hagen Brody and Jennifer Ahearn-Koch for Sarasota City Commission. SCDP Chair JoAnne DeVries stated “they have both proven themselves to be strong candidates with exceptional insight into the issues important to voters in the city. They are, without a doubt, the best and most qualified candidates for the Sarasota City Commission.”

Recently, some local newspapers and online news organizations have been quoting a few private individuals in a way that confusingly and wrongly characterizes them as speaking for the Democratic Party, DeVries noted. Such persons hold no positions of party leadership, she pointed out. “Only SCDP officers and officially designated spokespersons are authorized to speak on behalf of our party and its leadership,” she said.

DeVries urged all registered voters in the city to vote for Ahearn-Koch and Brody and asked fellow Democrats, whether in the city or the county, to support their campaigns with donations and volunteer hours. Early Voting is from Monday, May 1st until Sat, May 6th from 8:30am – 4:30pm daily at SOE Terrace Bldg, 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota, Fl 941-861-600

For Additional Information, contact
JoAnne DeVries, Chair
Sarasota County Democratic Party

For Immediate Release – Sarasota County Democrats support efforts to protect wildlife sanctuary at Celery Fields


The Sarasota County Democratic Party joins local environmental efforts and members of the community in opposition to the rezoning or sale of public lands near Celery Fields in Sarasota County. We do so for the following reasons:

  1. The Celery Fields is an internationally recognized bird preserve and wildlife habitat.
  2. Among the top reasons people visit and move to Sarasota County are our good weather, our fine beaches, and our excellent parks and preserves. These have contributed to the Sarasota metropolitan area being recently ranked #21 by US News/World Report in its survey of Top 100 Places to Live in the USA — and the highest ranked area in Florida.
  3. The internationally known Audubon Society, with the assistance of the Sarasota County Government, has constructed a popular ecotourism visitors’ center on the grounds of Celery Fields. This ecotourism center attracts thousands of visitors to our county every year, and these visitors generate a considerable contribution to our local economy.
  4. The public parcels for sale currently serve as a buffer and gateway to the Celery Fields ecotourism destination. Commercial sale and rezoning would eliminate that buffer.
  5. The Celery Fields wildlife sanctuary is located within a publicly-funded multi-million dollar Sarasota County storm water retention facility at the headwaters of Philippi Creek which leads to Sarasota Bay — a designated estuary of national significance. Rezoning decisions should not compromise water quality and marine life.

The Sarasota County Democratic Party urges the Board of County Commissioners to consider the risks to ecotourism, quality of life and environment, and designate the public lands adjacent to the Celery Fields as a parkland and wildlife habitat.

For Additional Information, contact
JoAnne DeVries, Chair
Sarasota County Democratic Party


Environmental Voter Resolution

Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida (DECF)

Environmental Voter Resolution

Whereas the Florida Democratic Party and its members are dedicated to electing more candidates to all offices at every electoral level, and to increasing the number of Democratic voters in the state; and

Whereas, 81 % of Floridians think that climate change is occurring, and that Florida is the most vulnerable of all states to sea level rise from climate change; and

Whereas the majority of Florida voters have consistently supported proenvironmental issues in recent years, including passage by 75% of a 2014 constitutional amendment to protect and preserve the state’s water and land, and twice voting decisively to protect access to solar energy; and

Whereas, Florida business and tourism is compatible and synergistic with preservation of the environment; and

Whereas, the continued success of Florida business is directly connected to preservation of the environment;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Florida Democratic Party will integrate environmental values into communications strategies, messaging and support for Democratic candidates at all electoral levels; and

Be it further resolved that the Florida Democratic Party will develop and implement strategies to better engage all environmental voters.

We did it! Or better yet, YOU did it – ACA

Fellow Democrats,

We did it! Or better yet, YOU did it: Against all odds, YOU forced the Republicans to withdraw their disastrous, morally bankrupt health-care bill from consideration, rendering a humiliating defeat to the Trump White House and the Ryan-controlled House.

Thankfully, your relentless efforts kept the President and Republican held Congress from passing this horrific bill that would have removed about 24 million people from health care. Now millions of Americans won’t be thrown off the insurance they had gained under President Obama and millions more won’t lose their Medicaid benefits. Let’s hope this is only the beginning of a multitude of defeats for Trump.

Making phone calls, sending letters and emails, attending meetings, reaching out to friends and neighbors, holding demonstrations, demanding town halls with Reps. Vern Buchanan and Tom Rooney, showing up in huge numbers, and peppering them with sharp, smart questions all mattered. YOUR involvement makes a difference.

We ask you to draw strength from this victory for the ordinary, extraordinary people of this country and continue working with us as we strive to highlight and defeat the backward-looking, draconian agenda of the Trump administration and the GOP.  Please stay active and contact the SCDP to find out what more you can do. Your continued involvement is key.

Thanks to all who have shared their ideas and experiences with us. Don’t stop! Keep talking about politics and effective action. We must continue to rise up and fight back together – for our community, our country and our future. Please join us as we move forward in Sarasota County.

Again, thank you.

JoAnne Devries
Chair, Sarasota County Democratic Party
Call us if we can help: 941-330-9400