By Nicole Heubusch

JanetJanet Dougherty comes from a large family of seven brothers and sisters. She made a promise to them that she would follow in her father’s footsteps when it came to campaigning for County Commissioner. When her father, Ward Dougherty, campaigned, he rode his horse, Mr. Si, 100 miles across the district. He rode from the family’s cattle ranch near Van Dyke Rd. to Fort Lonesome.

It’s been 42 years since then, and now the younger Dougherty is fulfilling the promise she made in memory of her father. Since her own horse Shine is too old for that much riding, Dougherty was able to borrow a younger horse, Shorty, from Frank and Ora of Frank Diehl Farms in Wimauma.

The campaign trail began at the Fourth of July Parade in Brandon and will continue around to Plant City, Riverview, FishHawk, Wimauma and Sun City Center. Dougherty and Shorty will be making the rounds and greeting people in the neighborhoods.

“I really think being with Shorty is helping me to better connect with people because horses are so calming to be around,” Janet said. “Someone once told me that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” Having Shorty lead the way through different communities has helped Janet to meet more people. “District 4 is very large, and horses draw attention,” said Janet.

Being from a cattle ranch and growing up with animals are a few reasons why Janet enjoys the company of the horses. “I was even a Veterinary Technician for two years,” she said.

To meet Janet and Shorty, see the following dates:

Friday, August 1: Riverview- Corner of Gibsonton Drive and I-75

Friday, August 8-: Sun City Center- In front of ‘Welcome to Sun City Center’ sign on State Route 674

Saturday, August 16: Wimauma to Fort Lonesome- General Store (Corner of County Road 39 and State route 674) in memory of Ward Dougherty

For more information on Janet and Shorty, visit or e-mail

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