Voters in North Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Buckingham and Alva will have two candidates to choose from in the August 14 Primary. State Representative District 79 is a new district that was formed by the legislature this year.
Of the two candidates, Matt Caldwell and John Larsen Shudlick, both Republicans, the primary race will decide the victor since there are no Democrats seeking to fill that position.
Caldwell is an incumbent, having served in the old District 73.
Residence: Lehigh Acres
Occupation: Real estate appraiser
Matt Caldwell says that as an incumbent representative in the Florida House, it is his goal to provide the most honest and open representation possible for the citizens of the district. He said that although we are all struggling mightily these days, he is confident that commitment to conservative principles and limited government will give his constituents the greatest opportunities to succeed.
"Although fear may drive some into the arms of bigger government, rest assured that I will stand resolute in my defense of individual liberty, at all levels of government," Caldwell is quoted on his website.
Caldwell said the fact that legislators are termed out of office or are seeking other posts has eroded the seniority of the Lee County delegation in Tallahassee. People with leadership positions, chairmanships and influence accrued over the years will not be serving come the 2013 legislative session.
On his website, he calls that "the challenge."
"The opportunity is that voters can help build a delegation of qualified, motivated and service-oriented citizens to represent Southwest Florida and over time strengthen its influence over state matters. The decennial redistricting required by the constitution gave Lee County four solid seats a marked improvement over years past and an incumbent (himself) is running only in one," he said.
In recent speeches in the district, Caldwell says is he for getting government out of small businesses, which he says will bring about more jobs.
Jon Larsen Shudlick
Residence: Fort Myers
Jon Larsen Shudlick is a retired real estate broker. He says that a vote for him is a vote for a reasonable and responsible government.
He says he has proven that he understands the importance of working for the people of Florida and will continue to work tirelessly to advance the causes of the residents and workers of Lee County in Tallahassee.
According to his website, Shudlick says despite all of his work for the state, he still finds time to be actively involved in the community. He currently serves on the board of directors of Classical Christian Academy, teaches a life group at his church, serves as the president of the Henry/Glades Bar Association, is a member of the 20th Judicial Circuit's Professionalism Committee.
In meetings in the district, Shudlick has said he is against single member districts, such as some have proposed for Lee County government, and that he is for the Stand Your Ground laws. He also has called for a new state law to create a State Bank, modeled like one in North Dakota which he says will help start-ups for small businesses.