NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodLehigh Acres


LIVE IN LEE CO? How you vote for your county commissioners could change

Single-member district town hall
Posted at 10:05 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 22:05:03-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — What do you think about having one Lee County Commissioner represent a place like Lehigh Acres?

In December, a Lee County Legislative meeting discussed single-member districts for county commissioners.

Wednesday evening state leaders held a town hall in Lehigh Acres to hear what voters think.

Gwynetta Gittens was one of almost 100 people who came to the town hall. She is a former Lehigh Acres teacher, school board member and 20-year Lehigh resident.

"We are a family. We are a community, so what if someone said to you with your family sitting around the table, no you can't decide that. People across town will decide," Gittens said.

If you vote in Lee County, right now you vote for all five commissioners, but this bill would mean you only vote for a candidate running in your district.

County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass said he's not a fan of this idea.

Pendergrass said, "if you separate this area and give it it's own representation, do you really think commissioners in other parts of the county would provide that funding back to the area?"

He added this would limit how the commissioners could help people in other districts.

Senator Jonathan Martin, Representative Adam Botana and Representative Tiffany Esposito listened with open ears to those in favor, against and not so sure of the idea.

"If there is a form of government that could serve you better or somethings that's worked out, great. Tell us your stories, but I'm here to listen," Senator Martin said.

For a growing, unincorporated area, Gittens said she supports single-member districts.

"Single member, one of our family is at the table and they know what we need," she said.

State leaders said if it passed through state legislature and the governor signs it, voters can see it on their ballots in 2025.