Kurt Hoffman puts political strength behind Kevin Cooper in high-profile Hospital Board race

The Sheriff noted Cooper's military service as a chief reason for his trust.

Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman is siding with one of the anti-privatization candidates for the Sarasota Hospital Board.

The Republican lawman is endorsing Kevin Cooper, a Mote Marine Aquarium Vice President running for the at large Seat 2 spot on the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Board.

“Kevin Cooper has not only served his country in combat, he has served Sarasota County in a variety of roles,” Hoffman said. “Every community needs people like Kevin who are always willing to step up to the challenge and take on the problems of the day. Kevin has my endorsement and full support.”

Hoffman in 2020 won election as the Sheriff after serving for years as Chief Deputy under former Sheriff Tom Knight.

He alluded to Cooper’s long history in the community, where he worked as Chair of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and as an executive with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. He also serves as an executive committee member of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance Board of Directors and previously chaired the Sarasota County Planning Commission.

Before moving to Sarasota County in 2008, Cooper served as a Specialist in the Ohio Army National Guard, during which time he was deployed to Al-Taqaddum Air Base in Iraq’s Anbar province.

He embraced the Sheriff’s support.

“There’s simply no better example of leadership in our community than the man who leads Sarasota County’s finest,” Cooper said. “As a combat veteran, it’s an absolute blessing that Sheriff Hoffman, who stands on the front lines here in Sarasota, would come alongside me as we move this community forward.”

Cooper was appointed last month by Gov. Ron DeSantis to chair the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County.

He’s part of a group of business and community leaders running for the Hospital Board as the offices become the subject of unusual political attention. An anti-establishment slate for the second election cycle in a row has run on a disruption platform criticizing the hospital’s COVID response and other policies.

For example, Stephen Guffanti, Cooper’s opponent in a Republican Primary, accused the hospital of assaulting and abusing him when he had COVID. Guffanti went to conspiracy outlets like Alex Jones’ Infowars to spread accusations of medical “tyranny.”

Democrat John Lutz also has filed for the seat, as has a write-in candidate.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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