Governing Board

Port Manatee is a dependent special district created by the Florida Legislature in 1967. The port is governed by the Manatee County Port Authority – a seven-member oversight board which sets policy and oversees major expenditures for the port. Manatee County Port Authority members serve four-year staggered terms with an annual election of officers.

While the Manatee County Port Authority is comprised of the same seven members as the elected Manatee County Commission – each governing body has a separate set of officers and financial accountability. Port Manatee is not a unit of Manatee County Government and does not receive ad-valorem tax support from the citizens of Manatee County.

Vanessa Baugh

Chairwoman – Vanessa Baugh

Commissioner Baugh is originally from Virginia and moved to Florida in 1999.

She and her husband, Don started Vanessa Fine Jewelry in 1999, which is located on Lakewood Main Street. They have 4 children and 10 grandchildren.

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Priscilla Whisenant Trace

First Vice Chairwoman – Priscilla Whisenant Trace

Commissioner Whisenant Trace is a native of Manatee County. She and her husband, Craig, founded the Ellenton Nursey Growers in the 1980s. Her son, Blake, has joined the family business.

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Reggie Bellamy

Second Vice Chairman– Reggie Bellamy

Commissioner Bellamy was born and raised in Manatee County and has one son.

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Betsy Benac

Third Vice Chairwoman Betsy Benac

Betsy Benac was born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan and moved to Florida in 1982. She and her husband Bob live in southern Manatee County, they have been married for 29 years and have two adult children, both graduates of Manatee County Public Schools.

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Stephen R. Jonsson

Member – Stephen R. Jonsson

Commissioner Jonsson was born in Orange, New Jersey and is a widower after 39 years of marriage. He has one son who is an attorney and a daughter who is a veterinarian tech.

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Misty Servia

Member – Misty Servia

Misty has lived in Manatee County since 1988 after accepting her first job as a planner for Manatee County government. She worked for the Manatee County Planning Department for nearly 18 years, where she met her husband Joaquin. Misty and Joaquin have three children.

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Carol Whitmore

Member – Carol Whitmore

Originally from Dearborn Heights, Mich., Ms. Whitmore moved to Manatee County in 1969 and grew up on Anna Maria Island. She is a graduate of Manatee High School, Manatee Technical Institute and has an associate of science degree from Manatee Community College. Ms. Whitmore is a licensed registered nurse and was a certified health risk manager until 2006.

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