Cape Coral Mayor will not seek re-election

Posted at 5:14 PM, Mar 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-21 09:26:43-04

Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki says on Facebook she will not seek re-election.

The Monday afternoon post cited her accomplishments during her time in office, but said she needed to focus on building her company when her term ends.

"I am announcing this early in hopes that those in our community who have a desire to move our city forward will consider running.  Now is not the time for complacency.  Strong and caring leaders won't get elected unless we all take the time to get educated on the issues and most importantly, VOTE -- to allow the Cape to continue its forward momentum.  I believe it's critical we elect forward-thinking people who will continue to improve our city and grow it to its full potential," said Sawicki on Facebook.

Sawicki has had several publicized incidents during her term in office.  She has sparred verbally in meetings with leaders from Fort Myers Beach, the superintendent from Cape Coral Charter schools, and even had police respond to a domestic incident at her home after her ex-husband called 911 on November 1st. 

Several council members were caught off guard by the announcement when asked about if following Monday's council meeting. 

"I'm very sorry to hear this if it's in fact the way you state it," said John Carioscia, District 2th. 

"It does comes as a surprise," said councilwoman Marilyn Stout of District 3rd.

Council member Richard Leon, whom the mayor once threatened to sue for defamation, told Fox 4 now he was surprised after seeing the mayor's Facebook post shortly before Monday's meeting. 

"You always see what we've done as a council and kind of hope moving forward we could still continue that. I wish the mayor the best" said Leon who represents District 4th. 

Sawicki made history in 2013 by becoming the first woman to lead Cape Coral. She ran on a platform aiming to improve transparency, accountability, and quality of life. They were goals several council members believe she achieved. 

"I'm kind of disappointed; I thought she was very good for the cape," said Carioscia. "I thought she was very competent," he added. 

However, Sawicki's personal life became a constant talking point in the public after she married the man she once filed a restraining order against, then divorced him two months later.

"It's unfortunate that some private things came out but ,you know, as a whole we continued to work together, we continued to work on big projects for our city," said councilman Leon.

In her post, the Mayor cites her college-age children as one of the reasons she will be leaving public office. 

"I don't know why she made the decision but I just look for what's best for the city of Cape Coral," said Stout.