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When life in city government gets overheated, Mayor John Holic heads home to dabble in another fiery claim to fame: master barbecue cook. “It’s my sanity break,” says the retired financial planner. “I smoke foods for a hobby. I taught the folks at Snook Haven how to smoke foods and gave them recipes that are unique [to the Myakka River-front restaurant]. I go out there once a week to see if there’s anything that they need.” Among his many civic endeavors, Holic is on the board of the annual Suncoast BBQ and Bluegrass Bash.

Venice Where?

“I’m a certified financial planner, and I moved here 25 years ago from Columbia, South Carolina, to manage the A.G. Edwards office. Up to that point I’d never even heard of Venice. [But] I chose it over managing the Lake Worth office because it’s much more laid-back. I thought I might as well give it a go.”

Always Involved

“My wife, Pam, and I raised three sons here. We got involved with the YMCA right away; we did turtle patrol for a few years on Venice beaches with Mote. Pam was a Scouts den mother and our youngest son became an Eagle Scout. Most recently, we’re both involved at Historic Spanish Point. I serve on the Venice housing authority board and the board of directors for South County United Way. I should go back to work, it’s easier.”

Problem Solver

“I decided to run for office because of my philosophy that anybody in the office could come to me with criticisms or complaints, but only if they came to me with a solution. When I retired in 2009 I didn’t like the direction the city was going. I thought if I wanted to voice a complaint I’d better go up there with a solution, and the solution was I was going to run for office. I’m not fond of politics, but it’s one of the necessary evils.”

Still Small-Town

“When we moved here our kids used to play baseball in the middle of Harbor Avenue because there wasn’t any traffic. That can’t be done anymore, but Venice hasn’t lost its small-town appeal. People are our most important asset. I don’t think there is another city in the country that has a higher percentage of people who volunteer their time for the betterment of the community.”

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