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Meet the candidates for County Commission

July 22, 2020
Lehigh Acres Citizen

The three Lee County Commission races appear on both the Aug. 18 Primary and Nov. 3 General Election ballots with Republican Primaries for each seat.

The District 1 Republican Primary has two candidates, Michael J. Dreikorn, who holds a doctorate in education and is a business owner, and businessman Kevin Ruane, the mayor of Sanibel

The top vote-getter will then advance to the General Election where a write-in candidate, Kelsey Hotchkiss, has qualified.

Article Photos

The District 3 Republican Primary has two candidates, business executive Nicholas Batos, a Village of Estero Council member, and businessman Ray Sandelli, the incumbent who was appointed to replace former Commissioner Larry Kiker, who died while in office.

The winner of the Primary will advance to the General Election and face Democrat Todd James Truax, a health care administrator. A write-in candidate, Molly Hannigan, also qualified.

The District 5 Republican Primary has two candidates, Steven Haas, the owner of a trucking firm and a former firefighter, and Frank Mann, the incumbent and a lifetime Lee Countian.

The winner of the Primary will face Democrat Juan A. Gonzalez, a church leader. A write-in candidate, Kayley McHugh, also qualified.

District 1

Republican Primary

Candidate name: Dr. Michael J. Dreikorn

Seat sought/district: Lee County Board of Commissioners, District 1

Party: Republican

Age: 58

Education/degrees:

Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in Human Resource and Organizational Development (2009)

The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Certificate Executive Program (2002)

Darden School of Business, UVA, Charlottesville, VA

Master of Science in Management (1994)

Friends University, Wichita, KS

Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics (1988)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL

Occupation and place of employment:

Aerospace and Defense Industry Expert

Owner of The IPL Group, LLC

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County:

Since 02/2004 (16 years)

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

For the past 18 years I have owned a small business that provides engineering and consulting services to the aerospace and defense industry, managing a globally distributed workforce of highly skilled technical professionals. Prior to being a small business owner, I was an executive of Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies, a Fortune 100 company. In that position I had a direct-reporting team of approximately 10 senior managers, that were responsible for approximately 2,500 professionals within population of 43,000 globally distributed employees. My direct cost center budget was approximately $24 million, within $7.7-billion annual revenue business. Prior to that, I was the Assistant Division Manager of the Federal Aviation Administration's Production and Airworthiness division in Washington, DC. The division provided national policy for the civil aviation manufacturing industry, where I managed three branches encompassing approximately 50 professionals and provided policy direction to another 200. There are several more examples, that include managing European production operations for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft and building a ground-up manufacturing business for a German company (Buderus-Sell) in the US.

Political Experience/offices held:

2014-2020 Commissioner, Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Control District

Civic/Community involvement:

2019-Present Founding Board Member of the Florida Fishery Foundation (501(c)3) (A not-for-profit aimed at restoring the water quality, aqua habitat, and fishery of Lee County)

2014-Present Board Member of the Greater Pine Island Water Association (A user-owner water utility)

2007-Present President of the Bokeelia Civic Association

Ongoing involvement in various military veteran groups and homeless support organizations.

Author of the proposed CAMO Alert Bill, aimed at enabling immediate response for missing at-risk veterans and have advocated for such in Tallahassee.

Family:

Married to Darlene, 3 (Shawn, Seth, and Pierce) sons, and 5 grandchildren.

Military Experience:

1980 to 1987, US Army, Sergeant (Entire enlistment was overseas). Awarded several medals and honorable discharge.

Website:

www.VoteDreikorn.com

Candidate positions at a glance:

Why are you running? The short answer is I hate bullies, and government tends to be the biggest bully on the block.

Planks of your platform: To provide strong leadership, highly capable of critical thought, and constitutionally correct, with the objective of providing Lee County with long range vision for a sustainable community.

Top three issues:

Sustainable and Smart Growth: Lee County will have 1-million residents by 2029 and our infrastructure and economy needs to be robust to ensure Lee County remains awesome for generations to come. That includes retaining the Old Florida feel in rural Lee County and leveraging our natural resources to bolster our tourism, while ensuring our economic engines are finely tuned and diversified by organically growing and attracting high-tech businesses to our community. My high-tech business experience brings a missing skill set to the county commission.

Public Safety and Health: No child in Lee County should be placed at risk while in transit or while attending school, and their safety is one of my highest priorities. I will champion projects to increase safety of children while at bus stops and ensure our Sheriff has the resources needed to keep our kids safe while at school. The ongoing COVID-19 crises has also provided ample lessons learned that must be incorporated into Lee County emergency management practices to ensure we are ready for the next inevitable crises. One lesson learned, our hospital capacity is below the national average and must be expanded, to including bringing in an additional hospital which will also increase care quality. Our emergency storm sheltering is need of significant expansion, and I will champion the creation of such in flood-safe areas. And, unquestionably the most important public safety issue is the ability to protect your own family. I will champion an ordinance to make Lee County not only a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary County, but a Bill of Rights Sanctuary County.

Water Quality: When we think of water quality, many think of the water we swim in. The water we drink is also at risk and under threat by growth, reduced recharge, and saltwater intrusion. There are several policy decisions that can and should be made to protect our drinking water: 1) Protect the current zoning limitations in the Density Reduction Groundwater Recharge (DRGR) to preserve aquifer recharge capacity; 2) Prevent further limestone mine permitting to preserve limestone water filtration to the aquifer; and 3) Revise land-use requirements to evolve toward porous asphalt surfaces for roadways and parking lots to increase groundwater recharge. With regard to the water we swim in, we must continue our advocacy at the state and federal levels, but be significantly more aggressive with eliminating our local contributions to contamination. We must immediately take local action to: 1) Address our septic tank issues and reinstitute periodic inspections; 2) Reduce our dependency on the swell systems for storm water runoff; 3) Harmonize the five cities and county fertilizer ordnances; 4) Prevent future ruptures of sewer pipes; and 5) Eliminate all treated waste water pumping into the river. Upstream, we must hold those legally accountable that send their contamination to Lee County. I will also champion the restoration of Lee County's aqua habitats by rebuilding our historical oyster bars and sea grass which support our $467-million recreational saltwater water sport fishing economy as well as several other tourism revenue channels.

Candidate name: Kevin Ruane

Seat sought/district: County Commission, District 1

Party: Republican

Age: 60

Education/degrees:

I attended Pace University's BBA/MBA program. This was a dual degree program and I was working towards a double major in Accounting and Taxation. I completed 75% of the program but withdrew to assist with the family accounting business, when my father had his fourth heart attack.

Occupation and place of employment:

CEO and President of five Finance companies with offices in five states and over 300 employees

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: 16 years

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

I was previously Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for a subsidiary of a Fortune 100 company, and have a long record of helping small businesses expand. In 1997 I assumed day-to-day operations of my family's accounting firm and in 2005, I launched Castleton Capital which provides financing solutions to small businesses. Today, our company is helping entrepreneurs expand and create jobs throughout the United States

As Sanibel's mayor, I cut taxes 25% and increased the city's reserves from $2 million to $12 million while cutting the city's debt by nearly 81%.

Political Experience/offices held:

I have served almost 14 years on the Sanibel City Council, 11 of those as Mayor.

Civic/Community involvement:

Shortly after moving to Sanibel, I became a member of the Sanibel Hurricane Damage Assessment Team and served as project manager at Gulfside Place Condominiums. There, I led the restoration of 84 hurricane-ravaged homes and negotiated a $13 million settlement for the property owners. In 2013 and 2017, I was a finalist for the Fort Myers News-Press Public Servant of the Year Award and for 2014, I was awarded the Committee of the Islands' Citizen of the Year. In 2017 I also received the Florida League of Cities Home Rule Hero Award. In 2016 I was the recipient of the prestigious National Everglades Coalition James D. Webb award and chosen the 2016 Hometown Hero by Boy Scout Pack 1740.

Family:

My wife Doreen and I live on Sanibel, and have two adult children -- Shannon and Kevin Jr.

Military Experience: N/A

Website:

www.votekevinruane.com

Candidate positions at a glance:

Why are you running? I am running to bring my proven record of conservative leadership and business experience to the Lee County Commission.

Planks of your platform:

A Budget Based on Principle

Lee County has taken significant measures towards balancing the budget, but now we need to put innovative policies in place that enable Lee County to rise to the next level of fiscal responsibility. This will enable our county to eliminate inefficiencies, keep taxes low, and pay down debt.

Restore Clean Water

I have been a champion in the fight to restore our water quality. Clean water and a healthy environment are not items to debate - they are resources that we must work together to protect. I understand the impact water quality has on our economy and our quality of life. I am committed to continue working with our federal and state governments to ensure our water quality is restored and protected.

Fast-Tracking Job Creation

I believe the importance and impact that start-ups and small businesses have on our economy. That's why I want to continue to streamline new business creation as well as provide the tools necessary for established businesses to expand and hire new employees by simplifying or eliminating unnecessary government regulations that hinder innovation and prevent job creation, growth, and expansion.

Top three issues:

Restore and Protect Water Quality

Throughout my entirety of public service, water quality has always been my top priority. It is paramount to our economy and way of life in Lee County, and we must have cooperation at every level of government to restore our waterways not only for us, but the generations to come, and I have and will continue to lead the way in this fight.

Diversifying our Economy

We are fortunate to have great industries like tourism and real estate, but our long-term prosperity requires a diverse and stable economy. I will recruit new industries to Lee County to help guarantee we can continue to prosper even during tough economic times.

Growing Lee County's Economic Base

I believe in the future of Lee County and knows we can make tremendous strides forward guaranteeing that our future is brimming with opportunity and prosperity. I will support our existing local business owners and help start-up entrepreneurs open their doors sooner and create jobs faster.

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District 3

Republican Primary

Candidate name: Nicholas "Nick" Batos

Seat sought/district: Lee County Board of County Commissioner, District 3

Party: Republican

Age: 75 years old

Education/degrees:

Samuel J Tilden High school Brooklyn New York

Brooklyn College /part of New York City University system Brooklyn New York attended for 2 years

Occupation and place of employment:

Retired from career in the hospitality industry in New York City. VP of Food and Beverage operations for six hotels owned and operated by Helmsley Speer.

Chief operating officer for two private country clubs

Currently on Village of Estero Council (5-1/2 years)

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County:

I have lived in Estero for over 19 years-over 17 years full time this is the district that I am running for

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

I lead the effort to incorporate the village of Estero (2013-2014)

Was the first mayor of Estero 2015 -2017

Am still on council (2015- current)

Was elected twice and have dealt with residents for over 15 years

As food and VP of 6 hotels I was responsible for all operation budget 8 million dollars (1970-1990)

Staffing over 200 employees

Political Experience/offices held:

I have been elected twice to the Village of Estero Council and served as the first mayor of Estero

Civic/Community involvement:

Have been advocating for quality of life issues in Lee County for over 15 years

Founded and served as chairman of the Brooks Concerned Citizens

Established and Chaired the South Lee County extension of the Conservancy of SW Florida

Served on the Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL) 2007 - 2012 and chaired the ECCL 2012- 2014

Was awarded the Estero Visionary of the year award in 2010

Served on the South Lee County Hospital committee (2006 -2014)

Serve as the liaison to the Lee Health system for the Village of Estero

Serve as Liaison to the Lee County School System

Established and serve as chair on the Estero Education Initiative (a public private organization helping the schools and students in Estero school with athletic and the arts programs)

Family: Married 55 years; 2 children and 4 grandchildren

Military Experience: None

Website:

Batos4LeeCounty.com

Candidate positions at a glance:

* Clean Water

* Growth Management

* Reestablishing the conservation 20/20 program to receiving all the money that is collected for it

* Protecting against mining being spread into environmental areas

* Collecting full impact fees so new growth will pay for the infrastructure Roads, Schools, Parks) for that new growth

Why are you running?

* I am running because I believe the county has been going in the wrong direction on a number of issues over the last 5/6 years. I believe that Lee County should once again have a government for the people NOT for the developers and their special interest groups

*I also believe that government should be more responsive to the needs and wants of the residents

Planks of your platform:

*Responsive Government

*Lower Property Taxes

*Smart Growth

*Improve Water Quality

Top three issues:

* COVID-19

* Water quality and water quantity (storms and seawater raise)

* Growth Management --Overcrowding of our roads and school

Candidate name: Ray Sandelli

Seat sought/district: Lee County Commission, District 3

Party: Republican

Age: 71

Education:

Bachelor Science from Monmouth. Major in business.

Occupation and place of employment:

Lee County Commissioner, District 3

Broker, CRE

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: Moved to Lee County in 2012.

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

After the Navy, I entered the private sector and began what would become a very accomplished 40-year career in commercial real estate, spanning from coast to coast across the United States. I returned to Florida in 1995 to assume responsibility for all statewide operations for CBRE and its affiliates.

Political Experience/offices held:

Lee County Commission, District 3

Civic/Community involvement:

Former President of Tampa Rotary

Past Chairman of University of Florida Graduate Program in Real Estate

Rotary Paul Harris Fellow

Family:

My wife Jan and I reside in Bonita Springs and have 3 grown children: Rachael who is married, works in marketing, and lives in Atlanta; Chris, who is a project manager for a construction company in Denver; and Jessica, who is a marine biologist in Tampa.

Military Experience:

I spent eight years serving our country as an officer and Naval Aviator in the U.S. Navy. During my time in the Navy, I was stationed in Pensacola, and also completed two deployments on the aircraft carrier USS Independence, participated in operations during the Yom Kippur War and Cyprus Conflict, and was an Advanced Training Command Instructor for Naval Flight Officers. The highlight of my Naval career was my time as a member of the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Blue Angels.

Website:

www.raysandelli.com

Candidate positions at a glance

Why are you running?

I was honored when Governor DeSantis appointed me to the County Commission, and the past 10 months on the board have been enlightening and educational. I have taken great pride in being a good steward of the tax dollars of this community and ensuring Lee County is heading in the right direction. I am running to retain my seat to keep our initiatives rolling and make this county the best place to live and work in Florida.

Planks of your platform:

Our Heroes

Ensuring that our first responders, medical personnel, and teachers are afforded the respect and incentives to best provide for their families is a very personal mission for me. I will continue this to ensure that those who serve and protect us are in turn valued and served by their community.

Our 2nd Amendment

We live a world today which makes the protection of the right to bear arms indisputable. With that right comes the responsibility to also keep arms in the hands of law-abiding citizens. I will vigorously help to protect that constitutional right.

Protecting Taxpayer Dollars

As a steadfast conservative and experienced businessman, I take very seriously the fiscal responsibility of spending tax dollars wisely and will fight any wasteful government spending. I will diligently scrutinize every dollar spent by the County Commission to ensure it is going back to benefit the community I serve.

Top three issues:

Our Economy and Growth

Our Water and Environment

Pathways to Employment Opportunities

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Todd James Truax in the General Election.

Candidate name: Todd James Truax

Seat sought/district: Lee County Commissioner, District 3

Party: Democrat

Age: 51

Education/degrees:

B.S. Cleveland State University 1991

M.S.S.A. Case Western Reserve University 1996

Occupation and place of employment:

Retired Nursing Home Administrator & Social Worker

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: 20 years

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

Managed health facilities for medically fragile population requiring 24/7 supervision. Position requires disaster planning, infection control, budgeting, & regulatory compliance. Staffed with physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers, dietary, housekeeping, and maintenance staff. Approximately 120 patients with 250 staff under my supervision. 12 Direct Reports. Annual budgets range from $12-20M.

Political Experience/offices held:

Currently serving as the Precinct 61 Committee Man for the Democratic Executive Committee since 2018.

Formed the Florida Healthcare Administration, District 16 in 2002 which comprised 22 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities serving roughly 3,000 patients and residents in 2002. Served as its Secretary and President.

Civic/Community involvement:

Builder with Habitat for Humanity since 2008.

Serve on the Board of The Cafe of Life for nine years. Member of Bonita Springs Lions Club screening pre-school children for vision and hearing impairments throughout the county. Served on the Horizon Council and coordinated training programs at area technical schools to prepare skilled graduates for waiting jobs. Past member of the Lee Chamber of Commerce and The Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce.

Family: Wife, Gina, Son, Jay 25, Daughter Marion 23. Rescued our pet dog, Fritz 2 years ago from a local shelter. Pet Cockatoo, Rosie will outlive us all.

Military Experience: None.

Website:

www.toddtruax.com

Candidate positions at a glance:

For the past 20 years in Florida, I have developed deep roots in the Southwest Florida communities I have served. Working as a healthcare administrator, college instructor, social worker, salesman and volunteer, I learned the importance we all play in serving one another to the betterment of our community. Through my service with organizations like the Horizon Council, Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, Harry Chapin Food Bank, The Cafe of Life, and Lions Club, I have rolled up my sleeves and fought for those who have been allowed to fall through the cracks in our society.

Why are you running?

The Lee County Board of Commissioners have failed the people they took an oath to serve by giving free rein to developers, mining, drilling and special interest groups. As a result of their dereliction of duty, I am dismayed by the loss of the small-town feel our individual communities once had. We now see them being swallowed up in the sprawling reaches of cloistered compounds, strip malls, car lots, inter-connected by a quagmire of traffic.

We need to nurture the elements that brought us here in the first place: a retirement haven and place to raise a family with decent, well-supported schools, a top-notch healthcare system, a bustling business-friendly environment, with social supports for our most at risk.

A place of beauty with pristine beaches, nature preserves (free of traffic noise), abundant fishing, and waterways teeming with life. Cypress sloughs and great oak hammocks, worthy of Clyde Butcher's camera lens. We can encourage growth through proper planning, focusing on in-fill utilizing existing infrastructure, allowing multi-purpose zoning and inclusion of affordable and workforce housing for new grads and future families.

Our diversity is our strength. From indigenous tribes to pioneering cracker settlers, from Yankee carpetbaggers to Confederate defenders, from our snowbirds from the North to our immigrants from the South, we can all come together and make Lee county a safe, flourishing, sustainable environment to be enjoyed by all.

Planks of your platform:

Top three issues:

Clean Water

Smart Growth

Clean Energy

----------

District 5

Republican Primary

Candidate name: Steven "Sonny" Haas *

Seat sought/district: Lee County Board of County Commissioners District 5

Party: Republican

Age: 55

Education/degrees:

Graduated from LaBelle High School, took continuing education courses at Edison State College

Occupation and place of employment:

Owns trucking firm, retired North Fort Myers firefighter

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

Political Experience/offices held: Served on Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District Board of Commissioners

Civic/Community involvement:

Family: Single, three daughters

Why are you running? "The people of the northeast section of the county demanded that I run."

Planks of your platform: "You should have seen Lehigh (Acres) 16 years ago, what it is now and where is it going."

* Mr. Haas declined to submit the bio form sent to all candidates for the Lee County Commission. Answers provided are from an interview with the candidate for the story related to this article.

Candidate name: Frank Mann

Seat sought/district: Lee County Commission District 5

Party: Republican

Age: 78

Education/degrees:

BA degree in Political Science from Vanderbilt University -Franklin Balch Mann

Occupation and place of employment: Commercial Real Estate Investments

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County:

Have lived 23 years in the district. Born in Lee County and lived here 78 years.

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

Real estate and insurance background 40 years.

Political Experience/offices held:

Florida Legislature 12 years, 1974-1986

South Water Management District 2 years

Lee Memorial Hospital Board 2 years

Lee County Commission 1992-1994; 2006-present

Civic/Community involvement:

Fort Myers Rotary Club 40 years, President 1992-93

Presbyterian Church choirs 50 years

Family: wife of 59 years Mary Lee, 2 sons, 3 grandchildren

Military Experience: none

Website: none

Candidate positions at a glance:

Why are you running? To do what I can to preserve this Lee County paradise in the face of unprecedented growth over the last fifty years, and for the foreseeable future.

Planks of your platform: Environmental Protection, Comprehensive Planning, Sensitive Land Preservation.

Top three issues: Water, water, water. Our forefathers, through ignorance and lack of planning, did serious damage to our water resources, particularly in South Florida, for over 100 years. Nothing is more important to our county's future than the restoration and protection of this precious asset, whether it be right here in Lee County or in the areas east of us, from which so much of our fresh water flows. Much more time and money needs to be spent on fighting pollution, excess nutrients, and threats to our salt water as well. A healthy economy and environment demands we keep water as our top priority.

The winner of the Republic Primary will face Democrat Juan A. Gonzalez in the General Election

Candidate name: Rev. Juan A. Gonzalez (Best Known as "Pastor Juan") *

Seat sought/district: Lee County Board of County Commissioners District 5

Party: Democrat

Age: 63

Education/degrees: University of Buffalo, Bachelor of Arts

Urban and American Studies

Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary

St Catharines, Ontario

Master of Divinity 1988

Case Western Reserve, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry (2001-2002). Enrolled in the Pastoral Psychology Institute/Clinical Pastoral Counseling for clergy in the active ministry.

Occupation and place of employment: Pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Lehigh Acres

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: Lehigh Acres, since early 2010.

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking:

Founder & President/CEO (volunteer) of The HIVE Community Development Corporation, Inc. (Lehigh Acres)

Former executive director of Lutheran Services New York Alliance, an alliance of Lutheran judicatories and social ministry organizations (SMOs) affiliated and/or recognized by the ELCA and the LCMS in the metropolitan New York area with a combined aggregate annual budget of over $350 million dollar, serving as the public face and voice of Lutheran human and spiritual care services of over 300 parishes.

Former president and CEO of Lutheran Urban Community Ministry, Cleveland, Ohio.

Founder/Principal Partner/Owner of Effective Growth Management Consultants, www.egmconsultants.org.

Political Experience/offices held: None

Civic/Community involvement: In 2001, was appointed to serve on a Citizen's Financial Oversight Committee for the Lorain City Schools to oversee and report to the City of Lorain and the State of Ohio on a $220 million bond for facilities revitalization and new construction.

Served on the Business Advisory Council for the Lorain City Schools and Lorain County Community College/St. Joseph Learning Center Advisory Council.

Served on the Board of Trustees for Community Health Partners (regional hospital/medical center in Lorain County)

Former president of Miami-Dade Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc., Miami, Florida, a community development corporation engaged in generating and building affordable housing, providing low-interest loans, homeownership training, technical assistance, community and economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income families

Former co-president of Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope, a faith-based organization involved in regional public policy and community economic issues.

Family: Married to wife Eva for 40 years, three adult children and three grandchildren.

Military Experience: None

Website: www.votejuangonzalez2020.com (Under reconstruction)

Candidate positions at a glance:

Why are you running? My primary interest in running is to pursue the right public policies that affect everyday people, families, including youth, and children.

Top three issues:

Access to Attainable Housing

Increase Workforce Development & Support Entrepreneurship

Invest in Infrastructure & Economic Development

Planks of your platform:

I want to work for a healthier, vibrant, prosperous, inclusive future for our county by increasing "the quality of life" for all and not just for the few. The high quality of life makes our cities and communities economically competitive, creates business opportunities, and strengthens the local tax base. Our land use patterns should reflect our values. Citizen-led planning, planning district-by-planning district, should guide our development. Through smart growth approaches that enhance neighborhoods and involve residents in development decisions, these communities are creating vibrant places to live, work, and play. Encourage Smart Growth: 1) Mix land uses. 2)Take advantage of compact building design. 3) Create a range of housing opportunities and choices. 4) Create walkable/pedestrian friendly neighborhoods. 5) Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place. 8) Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas. Use and implement Smart Growth models that plan both economic and community development attempts to curb urban sprawl and worsen environment, right now. We can create tools to encourage small-scale, decentralized renewable energy across the County, protect our wetlands, improve our transportation system, and incentivize economic development in Lee County's outlying communities to limit commuting and traffic congestion.

Access to clean water and clear air is crucial for our long-term health and tourism economy. Land protection, for our best soils, means a predictable process with design tools for developers and planners to preserve working landscapes, while maintaining their value and creating the housing we need. Safeguard our beaches and coastlines, reduce sprawl development, address our affordable housing crisis, combat climate change, and protect our most vulnerable.

It is our responsibility to do our level best to seal up the cracks in society, catch people when they fall, and address the root causes of poverty and work boldly and cooperatively with all stakeholders to take-on readily available resources to all vulnerable populations, equipping the next generations to take the helm of citizen responsibility - for building healthier communities and their neighbors to ensure Lee County is a place where individuals of all walks of life are valued, respected and have the tools to achieve the American Dream. This means an equal chance for everyone to have a good-paying job, quality education, thriving business, safe community, health services, tools and resources they need, and the ability to enjoy our beautiful parks and beaches.

Championing the causes of children, encouraging and empowering our youth, and turning their faith into action. I have been a staunch advocate for quality education, inclusion and diversity in opportunities and the workplace, safe and clean water, clean energy, environmental stewardship, small businesses, healthy communities, and stable and affordable housing.

Working in collaboration with community leaders, business leaders, government officials, schools, colleges, foundations, and other community groups making neighborhoods a better place to live

 
 

 

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