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Joe Barbetta is running for the Sarasota City Commission because he loves our community and wants to use his proven leadership and background to help improve the City of Sarasota.

Joe was first elected to the Sarasota County Commission in 2006 and served for eight years, where he focused on developing sports tourism in the county. Joe championed the Rowing Facility at Nathan Benderson Park, The Sarasota BMX Facility, and the relocation of The Baltimore Orioles to Sarasota.

He is admitted to the New York and Florida Bar and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Joe graduated from LaSalle Military Institute in Troy, NY, and then received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Fordham University in New York City. He earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) Degree from Union University-Albany Law School in Albany, NY. He previously practiced law in Clifton Park, NY in the areas of real estate development, planning, zoning, and land use.

Joe is a former member and Chairman of the Sarasota County Planning Commission, serving on that board for over fourteen years. He is also a member of the Sarasota County Bar Association. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, Visit Sarasota, the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Sarasota Alliance. He is an Eagle Scout.

He was a founding board member of Rebuild Sarasota, a division of Habitat for Humanity and a founding board member of the Sarasota Area Sports Authority. Joe is also active in several other civic & cultural organizations in the Sarasota County area. Joe is currently engaged in Legal & Business Consulting and among his clients is the Nathan Benderson Community Park Foundation where he assisted in bringing the World Rowing Championships to Sarasota. He resides in Downtown Sarasota with his wife, Mary Kenealy-Barbetta.


“Sarasota is at a crossroads. We are a growing, sophisticated City brimming with opportunity but special interests and incompetent governance are holding us back. Joe can change that. I’ve worked with him, he knows how to build consensus and he gets things done. As former Mayor I’ve seen Joe in action, leading complex Public-Private projects and always putting the greater good over politics. Joe has the Experience and Intellect to restore compromise and common sense to City Hall.”

– Suzanne Atwell, Former Mayor of the City of Sarasota

“I have known Joe for many years and I’ve worked with him during his years as a County Commissioner. We collaborated on Budgeting, Public Safety and Mental Health issues, the Jail, and Homelessness. Joe cares deeply about the Community, and Public Safety and has always been one of his top priorities. Joe is a strong leader, caring, professional, hard-working, collaborative, and fiscally responsible. He proved that at the County and I know he’ll do the same for the City. I am proud to support Joe Barbetta for the Sarasota City Commission.”

-Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight

“I have known Joe for better than 25 years and I have always found him to be a man who cares and a big supporter of my goal of raising funds for kids battling cancer through the V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of many worthy causes over the years that Joe has lent a helping hand to for the betterment of people’s lives. He played a major role in having the Baltimore Orioles training in our area. Joe is a man of action, a man of integrity, a man of loyalty and he is the right man to serve on the City Commission as he cares so much about Sarasota.”


-Dick Vitale
ESPN Basketball Announcer & Hall of Fame Member


Senate President Bill Galvano

Sheriff Tom Knight

Jim Boyd
Former State Representative

Larry Eger
Public Defender

Col. Kurt Hoffman
Candidate for Sheriff

Peter Abbott
Former Police Chief, City of Sarasota

Suzanne Atwell
Former Mayor of Sarasota

Pastor Kelvin Lumpkin
Former City Commission Candidate

Eric Robinson
School Board Member

Michael Moran
Sarasota County Commissioner

Alan Maio
Sarasota County Commissioner

Charles Hines
Sarasota County Commissioner

Paul Caragiulo
Former Sarasota City and County Commissioner

Christine Robinson
Former County Commissioner

Paul Mercier
Former Sarasota County Commissioner

Karen Rushing
Sarasota County Clerk of Courts & County Comptroller

Terry Lewis
Former City Manager of Sarasota, North Port City Manager and Police Chief

Dr. Peter A. Wish
Commissioner Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority

Richard Dorfman
Sarasota County Charter Review Board


Even prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the city had a reputation of being a tough place to open and run a business. We can do better. We have to, now more than ever.  Our small businesses are the economic engine that keeps this community running

Protect Neighborhoods by addressing the serious infrastructure deficiencies that currently exist throughout the City.

Our Homelessness and Affordable Housing challenges will not fix themselves. The city has isolated itself with the Administration’s stubborn and completely uncooperative attitude. It is time to re-engage with Sarasota County. No government can handle these issues on its own.

Although it may seem like it to our City Commission, money does not grow on trees. We must rein in the out of control spending, the bloated non-essential staffing and the senseless tax and rate increases. Fiscal accountability is paramount.

The Lift Station 87 Project is a complete FIASCO, currently 500% over budget, 7+ years behind schedule, plagued with lawsuits, and in the end will result in the destruction of what was once a beautiful City park.

The plan for Bobby Jones Golf Course must be re-evaluated. It is excessive. We simply cannot afford a plan which carries a $20+M price tag. Time for a mulligan.

The city’s poor relationship with the Sarasota County Government is hurting City residents. It is time to put an end to the pettiness. Our citizens deserve better. In addition, we should look for ways to partner with our county government to provide more efficient services.

Support the Sarasota Police Department by fostering and encouraging accountability of the City Manager and Police Chief for the proper Administrative Policies and Culture. Public Safety is of utmost importance.

The City Commission doesn’t seem to fully comprehend the importance of our Arts and Cultural Institutions. These organizations not only enrich our community culturally, they are a critical component to our economic base.

We must continue to protect Sarasota Bay. Water quality is not just an environmental issue it is an economic issue.

Lido Beach is our city’s beach. It is time we stopped allowing it to be treated like an unwelcome neighbor.

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