Elaine Bryant has represented Seat 1 on the Tallahassee City Commission for more than 18 months, but she has yet to be elected to the position. She hopes to change that in the coming months.
Bryant was appointed to the position in December 2018, replacing Scott Maddox who was removed from office by then-Gov. Rick Scott after he pleaded guilty to corruption charges earlier that month.
Bryant believes that strategic planning is the key to sorting through an issue and being a strong community leader. She received her Ph.D. in educational leadership at Florida A&M University and has transferred those skills to a number of roles during the past four decades.
Bryant is running against Jacqueline Porter, William Moore V and Jermaine Miller to retain her City Commission seat in this year’s primary. Should Bryant receive 50% or more of the vote in the August primary, she would automatically retain her position. If not, the top vote getters advance to the general election in November.
With many major events occurring in the first half of this year, it has been an opportune time for leaders to prove they can step up and positively impact the city of Tallahassee.
Bryant knows the city well and although this year is unparalleled to previous years she has experienced in the city, she believes in Tallahassee and calls it a great place to live. In response to COVID-19 specifically, she says that she and her colleagues have been proactive to implement policies that protect the citizens of Tallahassee.
“In my 40 years of living in Tallahassee I have never seen a time like this ever,” Bryant said. “It causes us to make informed decisions, it causes us to look at data and not just react.”
The ability to lead from a place of strategy is an admirable quality that many are looking for from community leaders. Due to COVID-19, the burden to care for all Tallahassee residents’ needs has grown even stronger, Bryant says.
Last month she started an initiative to help 15 families who are facing food scarcities and in need during the pandemic.
“I’ve participated in several food drives,” Bryant said. “There are people who really don’t have food. They don’t have housing. Right now that is near and dear to my heart.”
Attorney Sha’ron James is a partner at Berger Singerman law firm and has been mentored by Bryant for more than four years.
“What I admire most about her is her integrity,” James said. “She really is concerned about the best interest of all Tallahasseeans.”
Bryant says that when she was appointed to her current position, it was to serve all of Tallahassee. But that doesn’t negate the connection she feels to particular demographics, especially since she is one of two Black, female commissioners on the board (Diane Williams-Cox is the other Black female commissioner).
“As an African American woman I think it’s extremely important that number one, our voice is heard,” Bryant said. “Then number two, that we represent and try to ensure that disparities that have been created over time, that we’re not ignoring but actually attempting to do something about them. I absolutely am looking for opportunities to level the playing field.”
James spoke highly of the confidence she has in Bryant to be the best fit for Seat 1.
“She is a seasoned community leader,” James said. “She has dedicated decades and decades of her life to service to this community. She is very passionate about service and giving. Her professional experience has prepared her for the times we’re in now.”
According to, Bryant has served in nine public service roles in Tallahassee. She plans to use the skills and values she gained from those positions to serve her constituents if she is elected.