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Four candidates for Polk County School Board — two of them running against each other — and a candidate for the Polk County Commission are among 11 people who this week completed a course designed to develop business-minded elected officials.

The training program for potential political candidates is called the Public Leadership Institute, and it’s overseen by BusinessVoice, the political arm of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s graduates who are running for office include:

  • Scott Jones, candidate for School Board District 3
  • Lisa Miller, candidate for School Board District 7
  • Latrice Moore, candidate for School Board District 3
  • Jennifer Sabin, candidate for School Board District 5
  • Martha Santiago, candidate for County Commission District 4

In addition, three graduates of last spring’s class are running for office now:

  • Jim Guth, candidate for County Commission District 4 against Santiago
  • Kathryn Gates-Skipper, candidate for County Commission District 2
  • Ed Shoemaker, candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. House, District 15

Last year’s class also included two successful candidates for Lakeland City Commission — Scott Franklin and Michael Dunn — and two unsuccessful candidates — Larry Durrence and Jorge Fonseca.

Other individuals who graduated from the program this week are:

  • Sarah Breed
  • Joe Joseph
  • Carole Philipson
  • James L. Ring
  • Hardam Tripathi
  • William Yates

Congrats to our graduating class of 2018 from the Public Leadership Institute! Thanks to all our sponsors, @Publix Hamic Previte & Sturwold P.A. @GetSpectrum Wards Air Conditioning, Hickman Homes, @MahoneyGroupInc @ATT

— Lakeland Chamber (@LakelandChamber) May 21, 2018

Class members receive four days of training from experts on candidacy, leadership and local public issues.

Selection for the program does not guarantee endorsement by BusinessVoice or program sponsors, Lakeland Chamber officials said.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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