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Town hall guests: Democrats vying for two congressional districts in Lehigh guests­ at Jan. 21 meeting

January 15, 2014
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The public is invited to a Town Hall session to meet two Democrat candidates who are running for Congress, each representing in Lehigh Acres. The community is split into with two districts, the 17th and the 19th Congressional Districts, which each having its own member serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The special event will be held at 7 p.m. on January 21 at Veterans Park in the main meeting room.

Joan Patterson of Lehigh, a leader in county Democrat circles, has planned the event, along with others.

Article Photos

April Freeman

The two candidates will each talk about their reasons for entering the races for the two districts and the audience will be given an opportunity to ask each of the candidates questions.

The two guest candidates are Will Bronson, seeking a seat in the 17th Congressional District, and April Freeman, who is seeking the seat in the 19th Congressional District.

Will Bronson of Lehigh Acres, said he grew up in Chicago and went to college in Minnesota and Washington state and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in economics.

Fact Box

To go


Town Hall session with Democratic candidates


Will Bronson, for 17th Congressional District; April Freeman, for 19th Congressional District


Jan. 21 at 7 p.m.


Main meeting room at Veterans Park

He then entered the U.S. Navy in 1961 at Pensacola, Fla., and became a commissioned naval aviator. After a five-year tour of duty, he began a 25-year career as an airline pilot retiring in 1991 and later moved to Florida.

He said he also has graduate degrees in educational and theology and his books may be found on

Bronson said he has run for U.S. Congress several times, initially as a Republican but most recently last timer as a Democrat. He said he has never received less than the 41 percent of the vote which he won in 2012 against Rep. Tom Rooney.

He said Rooney is a Tea Party incumbent and spent $1 million in the race.

Bronson said that one reason he runs is to prove that a person without much money can still get elected. His campaign motto is to "restore free enterprise and democracy" both of which he said have been stolen by monopolies and billionaires, such as the Koch brothers who he said fund the Tea Party.

He said that he left the Republic Party when Bush II decided to invade Iraq despite the loss of lives and money that the U.S. desperately needed for other things.

"It became a cash cow for the military/industrial complex that Eisenhower and our founders warned us against," Bronson said.

Now he says that the National Security Agency and Homeland Security are eroding Americans' constitutional rights and that his opponent, a constitutional lawyer, should stand against that.

"Instead, Rooney sponsored HR347 which criminalizes public protest," he said. His other beefs with Rooney include his vote for the Monsanto Rider that Bronson said allows Monsanto to continue producing genetically modified products, without testing or labeling, "that threaten the public's health and the environment."

"Also, Rooney signed Grover Norquist's Tax Pledge which causes the national debt to spiral out of control because the wars have been put on the national credit card while big corporations such as General Electric pay no taxes.

He said he supports term limits and public financing of elections and Medicare for all.

"Obamacare helps those with pre-existing conditions and does a few other good things, but a publicly funded system would save 15 percent right off the top, the difference between the 20 percent overhead that the private insurance companies are allowed and the 5 percent that Medicare overhead costs.

He said doctors and hospitals would still be private practices, but the funding would come from Medicare taxes.

"This would save employers huge amounts of money and help improve the employment picture," he said.

Voters in Lehigh's Precincts 3, 26, 77, 78, and 89 are included in Congressional District 17.

To check which congressional district you live in, you can check your voters' registration card which was sent to you last year.

April Freeman of Cape Coral, who is seeking the seat in the 19th Congressional District, now filled by Rep. Trey Radel, who was charged in October with cocaine possession.

He blamed alcoholism for his problem, took a 28-day leave of absence and attended a rehab clinic in Naples and returned to Congress last week when it reconvened for 2014. Radel has refused to resign his post despite calls from Republican leaders in his Southwest Florida District, including the most vocal, Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott.

Freeman is the only Democrat to file for the seat in the spring primary. She said she wants to return dignity, decency and common sense to national life and Southwest Florida by running for the 19th Congressional District seat.

"Like so many Americans, I just couldn't go where the extremists were taking us," she said.

She attended high school and college in Southeastern Michigan, with additional studies in economics and political science at Yale University and is a graduate of the Women's Campaign School at Yale, affiliated with Yale Law School.

She is married to David Freeman and they have two adult daughters.

In 2000, she founded a public relations marketing firm, changing focus to Spiked Heel Film Productions, a full service film and television production company in 2005. She expanded the firm to Los Angeles, Calif., and Southwest Florida, producing or participating in productions such as "Rock Slyde," "Cadillac Records," and "Hemingway and Gelhorn," along with a number of music videos for popular singing groups, including bon Jovi.

She said that for nearly 30 years, she was a loyal Republican.

"Like most Americans, I accepted the politics I grew up with," she said. Freeman was active in the Republican Party, campaigning for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, working local neighborhood precincts and making calls for state and congressional candidates.

In 2005, her business and political activities were recognized when she was named Businesswoman of the Year by the Republican Congressional Campaign committee.

But she said she became disillusioned with the GOP during the presidency of George W. Bush and that disillusionment began with her conviction that the American people had been deceived about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for war. But she said it was when the financial crisis hit that Freeman lost faith in Republican policies.

She said that the Tea party extremists, through their hold on the Republican Party, have taken the country in a direction that has been hurtful, harmful and extreme.

"They shut down the government, putting our seniors at risk and costing the country $24 billion, which damaged the economy, business and labor. They tried to drive the country into default by holding the debt ceiling hostage and as a result, the U.S. lost its sterling credit rating and its standing in the world.

"They utterly wasted the public's time and trust on meaningless, empty votes to repeal a law that was already passed and in effect," she said.

Lehigh voters who casts their ballots in Precincts 4, 42, 50, 51, 53 and 58 are in the U.S. House Congressional District 19. Your voters' registration card will list the district you live in.



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