The City of Fort Myers will be holding elections this fall for the office of mayor and three seats on the city council. 13 candidates in total will be on the ballot between the four races.
Primary elections will be held on Sept. 12 for any race with more than two candidates. If a candidate receives 50 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan races, they will automatically win the seat. Otherwise, the top two will advance to a run-off election on Nov. 7. The election for Ward 1 will also be on Nov. 7 as it only has two candidates participating.
All candidates were sent requests for background information and photographs.
Nicole Dillon is a former FGCU student who looks to focus her campaign on reducing gun violence, rehabilitating the homeless, and teaching local young people important life skills.
Randall P. Henderson, Jr. has served as mayor since 2009. He said that during that time one the city’s biggest accomplishment has been improving infrastructure including curb appeal in streetscapes and walkable, bikeable neighborhoods. Henderson said that he is running for a third term because he expects the next four years to likely hold substantial growth for the city and he wants to be able to participate in the exciting opportunities ahead. According to Henderson, the most important issue that the city faces is public safety and addressing it will require continued improvements in equipment, training, and community relations for the police force.
Curtis J. Sheard is a military veteran who has lived in Fort Myers for 35 years. Sheard said that he is running for mayor in order to provide a fair and equitable balance to the city ensuring that all residences, business and employee needs are being addressed and resolved. He would like to see more funding for parks and facilities like the STARS complex to give local children something positive to engage with. Sheard also said that he would support a five percent cut in spending by all city departments so that money could be used to better compensate municipal employees
Teresa Watkins Brown has served as Ward 1’s councilperson since 2009 and is seeking her third term. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Professional Business Studies and a master’s degree in Human Resources Development and Administration from Barry University. Brown worked in various roles in the telecommunications industry for 34 years before retiring. She is the President of the Southwest Florida League of Cities, a member of the National and Florida Black Caucus of Elected Officials and serves as Assistant Secretary for the Florida Group.
Willie Green is long time civil rights activist and a former president of the Fort Myers NAACP who frequently speaks at city council meetings on issues affecting the Dunbar neighborhood. (no photo)
Mildred Barnes is a former Lee Health System employee and restaurant owner who has lived in Fort Myers since 1975.The mother of five is active in her religious community and has been involved in a number of community organizations alongside her husband who is pastor of the Jerusalem Church Of God In Christ.
Minnie Henry Jackson is a lifelong Fort Myers resident who has lived in Ward 3 for over 40 years. She said that her top priorities for the city are health, wellness, and community safety.
Crystal Lyons-Johnson is a community liaison who has lived in the area for more than 30 years. She has worked with the STARS complex to help organize community forums that collect public input about programs and inform residents about resources available to them through the complex. Johnson said that the key issues she would like to address would be economic development, education, healthcare, and public safety.
Terolyn P. Watson has represented Ward 3 on the city council since winning a special election in 2015 with 67 percent of the vote.
Fred Burson is a commercial real estate agent who was born and raised in Fort Myers. He is a proud father who has coached baseball at Bishop Verot Catholic High School for 16 years. Burson said that the major issue he would address as a council member would be public safety, trust in city government, revitalization of the Cleveland Avenue business district, and changes to the comprehensive future land use plan for the Midtown District.
Stephen Hooper is an attorney who has lived in Fort Myers for 35 years. He has served on a number of boards for community organizations including the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center and the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, in addition to being the current president of the Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers – Edison. Hooper has said that some of the key issues he would like to see addressed are cleaning up environmental hazards like the lime sludge in Dunbar and restoring trust between the Fort Myers Police Department and local residents.
Lydia Lowell-Sherman is a retired civil servant who has lived in lived in the Fort Myers area for over 50 years. She has worked in a number of government offices including eight years in the Lee County Department of Community Development. Sherman said that her top priorities would be crime and policing issues as well as revitalizing areas like Dunbar, the Veronica Shoemaker corridor and Palm Beach Boulevard.
Joel Allen Moroney is an attorney and former local newspaper reporter who has lived in Fort Myers for 12 years.
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