Mike Greenwell and John Albion headline candidates to fill Frank Mann’s empty seat
Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell and former Lee County Commissioner John Albion headline the list of candidates seeking to fill the vacancy created by Frank Mann’s passing last week .
Greenwell, Albion, real estate agent Angela Chenaille, chiropractor Joseph Gambino and pressure-washing business owner Matthew Wood qualified before Tuesday’s deadline to run for Mann’s empty seat.
Mann died June 21 at his home in Alva after more than four decades of public service. He was 80 years old.
Last Friday, Lee County election officials called for a special election to fill the vacancy in District 5, which represents Lehigh Acres.
The special election will coincide with the August 23 primary and the November 8 general election.
Albion, Gambino and Greenwell are running as Republicans. Chenaille is listed as a written candidate. Wood is running as a Democrat.
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Albion is seeking to take the seat he once held.
“I’m running because based on what I consider the needs of the county right now,” Albion said.
He resigned in 2006 after 14 years as commissioner to run unsuccessfully for state representative. Mann was appointed to fulfill Albion’s term.
Albion, a real estate broker with extensive family real estate holdings, is a former executive director of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.
He said that as commissioner he had focused on transportation, Lehigh Acres development and water quality, and he said he hoped to bring his expertise to those issues again.
“When you start looking at the quality of life issues that we have, what it’s going to take on road projects and how we need to proceed with our water quality issues, we also have our jobs, the economy, but I’ve been there, I’ve done it,” Albion said.
Chenaille, a 35-year-old resident, has been a realtor for almost 14 years.
She works for SY&S Realty and works to maintain good water quality and help residents, she said.
“So I just want to make it a better community and, you know, bring people together with that without cutting off new growth and new development,” Chenaille said.
“I want to encourage him, but in a healthy way,” she added.
Gambino, who is from New York, said he was running to maintain fiscal responsibility.
He is a licensed chiropractor with a clinic in New York and a mobile unit in Lee County and is a member of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce.
He said his issues were meeting the needs of the growing area, protecting the environment and engaging with the community.
“We definitely need a county commissioner in the district who is going to engage with the community and do more community outreach and community development and support small businesses,” Gambino said.
He ran a year ago for the Lee County School Board before retiring.
As a resident of Lee County for 32 years, Greenwell said he is coming forward to be a strong voice in the development of Lee County.
He owns 31 Produce, a farmer’s market, and Big League Builders, a contractor company that builds custom homes.
This is the first time he is standing for election. He said he was looking to manage growth and meet the needs of the community.
He said he foresees a massive burst of growth in the next 10 to 15 years in the district.
“We’re kind of this outlier that’s really growing right now with Babcock Ranch coming in and State Road 31 expanding,” he said. “As a family, we are very affected by this with the road running through our property, so I just wanted to be involved and have a voice. Not just for my family, for all the people who live here.”
Matthew “Matt” Wood
Wood said he was showing up to make Lehigh Acres a better place for residents and those interested in moving there.
He owns and operates Powerwash Pros. LLC, an outdoor cleaning and pressure washing company since 2015. He was born and raised in Naples before moving to Lehigh Acres six years ago.
This is his first time running for elected office and he said things have to change for Lehigh Acres.
He cites issues with a lack of retail and amenities like parks
“I don’t even have sidewalks on my street,” Wood said.
He said Lehigh Acres was inundated with dollar stores and auto parts stores and wanted to see bigger box retailers come to the area.
“I have to go to Naples or Fort Myers just to get stuff,” he added.
Luis Zambrano is a Watchdog/Cape Coral reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. You can reach Luis at [email protected] or 239-266-5604. Follow him on Twitter @Lz2official.