The politicians have qualified for both the August Florida primary and the Nov. 6 general election. From here on in, they are campaigning hard to get your vote and one way in Lehigh is to show up at the popular "Politics in the Park," only this year it won't be at Veterans Park.
Instead the gala event will be held indoors at 5146 Leonard Blvd. in Lehigh. This is the campus of New Life Assembly of God but the church is not affiliated with the event.
The program is set for July 7 from noon to 4 p.m. in the sanctuary that seats 1,000 people. At least 59 candidates are expected to attend.
Tami Baker, a community activist and insurance executive in Lehigh, is spearheading the event for the Lehigh Community Council and the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres. Baker is the special events chairman at the Community Council. She is also on the board of the Lehigh Community Planning Corporation (LACPP), which has produced a Lehigh Plan that will become a part of the county's overall future comprehensive plan.
The Politics in the Park has been a tremendous success for the past half dozen years and large crowds with their families have shown up to meet the candidates face-to-face and to listen to reasons why a particular candidate wants to earn your vote.
Always held in the summer before the primary, it has been hot on the outside terrace of Veterans Park. Inside the Ruth Anglickis Meeting Room, politicians in previous years have had tables where their campaign workers passed out literature. The politicians spoke outside on the terrace and it was difficult to hear them and the terrace, with its limited space, was often packed with people.
Politics in the Park
July 7 from noon to 4 p.m.
New Life Assembly of God, at 5146 Leonard Blvd.
Lehigh Community Council and Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres
Moore said this year the change came to make the event a better one by having the Politics in the Park inside an air-conditioned building.
In a letter to all the qualified candidates to run whose names will appear on Lehigh voters' ballots, Jim Kreger, president of the Community Council of Lehigh Acres, wrote the letter to candidates, noted that historically, candidates seeking an audience for their political views would deliver stump speeches in social gathering places such as parks.
"We though revisiting this past practice, in a relaxed setting would provide an excellent opportunity for you to have face-to-face contact, intimate conversations, and a "soap box" to deliver a brief speech to your constituents in Lehigh," Kreger wrote.
He told them about the family event by inviting the public to meet the candidates.
"No debates, just a good old fashioned gathering and the candidates' chance to gain supporters," Kreger said.
He asked candidates to bring three dozen cookies each. He told them to be creative and show off their baking skills. Water will be provided at the site.
As far as ground rules for the candidates, Baker said they should speak briefly to the audience and hold their remarks to three minutes. She said there would be no debates like a few in past years at a local high school.
Baker noted that the event is unrelated to any political party and all registered voters, or those wishing to register to vote in the November election, are welcome to attend the free event.Candidates will include those running for county commission, school board, state representatives, and all other elected offices, including two boards in Lehigh.
Baker said candidates also running in the Alva Fire District, and those running for local offices in Gateway and Stony Brook have been invited.