Latest entry into the race will necessitate both Democratic and Republican primaries on Aug. 28
Another Democrat has entered the race for the Sarasota County Commission District 4 seat.
Jordan Letschert, a 35-year-old Sarasota native, filed with the Supervisor of Elections Office on April 10, setting the stage for an Aug. 28 primary with another Democrat who filed for the seat, Wesley Beggs of Sarasota, managing director of Growl Studios, which produces media and marketing strategies for businesses.
The winner will face the victor of the Republican primary. Incumbent Alan Maio of Nokomis, who was elected in 2014, once again is facing Lourdes Ramirez of Siesta Key. Ramirez has been involved in a number of civic organizations in the community, including the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA).
Letschert is a former police officer, having graduated second in his regional academy class, his campaign press release points out. A partner in 15 Crunch Fitness franchises, as well as in an investment company, he is a member of the City of Sarasota’s Police Advisory Board/Police Complaint Committee. That board reviews Internal Affairs complaints, so its members work alongside representatives of the Sarasota Police Department, including Chief Bernadette DiPino, the release explains.
If he is elected, Letschert has promised to donate 50% of his County Commission salary to the hiring of a School Resource Officer each year “to help protect the students of Sarasota,” the release adds. Each commissioner makes $86,000, the release notes. “He feels public service is a privilege and should not be a highly profitable profession,” the release says.
Letschert also was one of 100 police officers who joined amicus briefs in the appeals filed with both the 11th District Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that resulted in the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2015 decision that said the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.
“Jordan is openly gay, married to his husband Robby,” the campaign release says. They have a 21-month-old son, Kellan.
Letschert is “running as a moderate Democrat who seeks to secure our schools by working with law enforcement,” the release adds. He supports business and development but is an environmental advocate, as well, it notes, saying he favors responsible growth in the county.
The homepage of Letschert’s website says, “Better the world through social advocacy and business pursuit. I live for the entrepreneurial spirit.”
Furthermore, the release points out, if elected, Letschert will push for greater transparency regarding actions of the County Commission through use of technology and public outreach.
Letschert applied three times in the past two years for a seat on the Sarasota County Planning Commission, which is considered the most influential advisory board in the county. He never won an appointment to that commission.
In his 2016 application, he noted that he works with Sarasota of TTJ Investments LLC, which he established with his brother, Trudo. The firm initially concentrated on purchasing foreclosed residential properties and improving them as needed before selling them, he added in his Planning Commission application.
After his graduation from the University of Central Florida with a degree in hospitality management, he continued in the application, he became general manager of Café L’Europe on St. Armands Circle. He later opened his own establishment, Fred’s Restaurant, he added.
In 2008, he wrote, he “made a dramatic departure from his career path” and joined the police force of Richardson, Texas, on which he served for three years before returning to Sarasota.
The last time Letschert was on the list as a candidate for the Planning Commission — Jan. 25, 2017 — the County Commission named Dr. Joseph Neunder, a Nokomis chiropractor, and Colin Pember of Siesta Key, a commercial real estate agent, to replace Planning Commission members John Ask and Philip Kellogg, whose terms had expired.
The qualifying period for County Commission candidates will officially begin on June 18 and end on June 22, the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office website points out.