Bruce Rector: Clearwater Mayor Candidate

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Clearwater Mayor Candidate

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Bruce Rector: Clearwater Mayor Candidate

By Bruce Rector

Two experiences in my life have really shaped my leadership style and how I will lead as Clearwater Mayor. First, when I was 22 years old and working for the Indianapolis Colts, my mom got sick with ovarian cancer. At that time, I was a physical education major and working toward a career as an athletic trainer. I’d always dreamed of going to law school, but none of my family members had ever gotten a professional education degree beyond college and didn’t have a lot of money. Instead of focusing on all of that though, she told me to reassess and not sell myself short. Right before she passed away, in my last conversation with her, I talked to her about my plans for the future and told her I didn’t think it was possible to go to law school. Her last words to me were, “You might as well try.” She passed away about two weeks later.

After her passing, I took the LSAT and did really well and got into law school. I still didn’t feel like I fit in. Other students came from wealthier families or a long line of family lawyers. But I remembered my mother’s words, applied myself to all kinds of positions and opportunities and wasn’t ever worried about being told “no.” I’ve had a lot of success in life and gotten to do far more in life than I had ever dreamed of just by not putting a ceiling on what is possible and simply trying – even when I might not believe my chances are very strong.

I later read a book called The Big Leap. It essentially says that most people put a cap on the happiness in their life and focus too much on reasons that keep them from being as happy as they can possibly be. Essentially that book reinforces what I learned from my mom that to achieve the most in work and in life, never sell yourself short. What appears to be impossible really is possible. Possibilities are probably broader than you think they are. I’m always surprised at how much more enriched my life can be if I simply try.

The second experience was traveling the world and listening to peoples’ experiences in countries whose ways of life are drastically different from mine. Over time, I started to see less and less in terms of age, race and gender and differences and more of what we all have in common. I developed impressions that people are people, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. And I learned that the best ideas can come, and often do, from the places and people you might least expect. Since then I’ve always had a passion for trying to get people to find common ground and work together.

Over the years, I’ve talked about leading the Board of Directors of Junior Chamber International with 25 members from 18 different countries. It taught me a lot about how to work together with a widely diverse group to achieve common goals. I’ve worked in conflict resolution all around the world, even in countries and places that have experienced centuries of disagreements and strife.

That experience also taught me the importance of not being afraid to have difficult conversations and to handle them in a way that brings people together instead of pushing them further apart. We may not always agree, but having healthy conversations are important – understanding and respecting different perspectives and opinions in every community.

In Clearwater, these two experiences are really important. Clearwater often sells itself short and we limit ourselves by listening too much to the negative messages from outside our community and what others say we can and cannot do. As mayor, I’ll use my experience to pull people together and make Clearwater better. I’ll push for more visionary thinking and inspire our citizens and leaders to think more about what is possible and less about what others perceive as impossible. I’ll work to pull the lid off what we think we can do and will remember my mom’s words: “You might as well try.”

Secondly, as mayor I’ll use my experience to do what Clearwater needs SO much – to bring the community together. Walking neighborhoods and talking to people has raised my awareness for the opportunity to pull together as a community. People are disconnected here. The residents in our neighborhoods often don’t understand the way of life and the problems and challenges of living in other parts of the community. We need better messaging and community-wide dialogue so that all residents respect the different needs of the neighborhoods and ways we can all work together to have a great city.

Sports Facilities Companies, the company I work for, develops and manages sports and recreation facilities throughout the United States. We have extensive experience in helping design and operate swimming pools, courts and playing fields. Our company works with as many as 100 projects in any given year. The most successful communities with these similar projects have eventually developed facilities that make sense for THEIR community and that are not merely duplicating a facility that looks nice and fits in well in ANOTHER community. We do careful analysis of forecasted uses and build the facility and the programming around the market demand for use. We are always careful to do what makes sense for each unique community.

I have enjoyed visiting with voters at their homes. Those conversations have been invaluable to me in understanding our community and its needs. Talking with many people in their neighborhoods has often changed my perspective on city issues.

There’s a real feeling in our community that elected officials don’t understand what it’s like to live in their neighborhood. That has been consistent feedback across the city. They don’t know what it’s like to drive on their roads, walk on their sidewalks, live in their homes. In general, we need to do a better job of looking for new innovative ways to do things. We need standards and need to enforce those standards, but be willing to work with residents and businesses to find creative solutions.

I’m very proud of my 23-year-old son, Trevor, who lives with me in Clearwater now and works full-time as a Guest Services Manager at the JW Marriott on Clearwater Beach. He has a desire to stay in Clearwater and pursue a career here so I want to make it the best possible place to live for him, his children and even his grandchildren long after I am gone.

I have a great personal relationship with and the endorsement of many local city, county and state officials. If elected I would utilize those contacts and relationships to get things done for the citizens of Clearwater.

Bruce Rector

(727) 507-1710


Related articles:

Kathleen Beckman: Clearwater Mayor Candidate

Mike Mannino: City Council Candidate

Javante Scott: City Council Candidate

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