City Commissioner Ron Barnette will not seek re-relection in November, saying that his decision comes after “much thoughtful reflection” in the past year.
First elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2011, Barnette has served on the Dunedin City Commission for almost six years.
“Holding political office for its own sake is not my goal. It is a treasured, but finite opportunity to serve one’s community, and then make way for others to do the same. It is not a right, but a privilege, and I encourage others to come forward and to get involved in the governance of our city,” he wrote in a letter.
Barnette wrote that since he ran for office in 2009, he was humbled by being elected and his return to office in 2011 and “overwhelmed by the outpouring of support throughout Dunedin for my nonpartisan, community-oriented devotion to all residents, who are quite diverse.”
“I have sought to reach decisions with critical thinking after much research, dialogue with residents, and have always done so without involving any self-serving or personal interest. Philosophically, I have consistently sought to maximize the greatest benefits for the greatest number of people, often realizing that a decision would not be popular with all residents,” he said.
Born in the Los Angeles, Calif., area, Barnette served as a professor of philosophy at Valdosta State University in Georgia for more than 30 years where he also served as a philosophy department head, an interim vice president of academic affairs and as dean of the college of arts and sciences.
He moved to Dunedin in 2002 and served on many boards and committees.
As a former philosophy professor, Barnette also enjoys studying the influences Celtic culture had in forming the United States, from its ideas, customs and practices to its art, philosophy and educational models. He said in an interview in 2009 it is important to ensure younger generations also learn about their heritage.
Seat 2, held by Barnette, and Seat 4, held by Julie War Bujalski, will be on the ballot Nov. 4.
“To all of my supporters and to all Dunedin residents, I assure you that I will work hard to maintain a positive direction of community service for whoever succeeds me, and that I will faithfully review any candidate’s goals and values for our city before endorsing a successor and assisting with a smooth transition, which is vital. This is a promise I make to you all,” he wrote in the letter.
He wrote that he and his wife have been honored to serve residents.
“Our devotion to Dunedin will never waver, and we will continue to work hard for the city we all love,” Barnette said.