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Wilkinson retains seat with 60 percent of vote

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson faced two challengers in the general election and defeated both to retain his office with more than 60 percent of the vote.

With all but one precinct reporting, Wilkinson received 142,924 votes.

Running against Wilkinson, the Republican incumbent, was Democratic candidate John Glaser, who earned 32 percent of the vote or 75,567 votes, and the Non-Party Affiliated candidate Larry St. Amand, who earned 7.7 percent of the vote or 18,279 votes.

“Obviously the reaction is one of relief,” said Wilkinson on Tuesday night. “In a three- person race, to end up with 60 percent of the vote is awarding for me.”

For the last 28 years Wilkinson has run unopposed. Last night he explained that he was pleased with the election results.

“After 28 years of not being on the ballot you are kind of concerned,” he said.

He said there are no immediate plans in office, except for finding the best practices from other counties in Florida.

“We are always looking forward to find the best practices. If someone else has a best practice we want to practice it,” said Wilkinson.

Cape Coral resident Viviana Vena said she voted for Wilkinson.

“I wanted to make sure the properties get appraised properly,” said Vena. “I’m pretty conservative. I tend to vote conservative down the line.”

Wilkinson has been property appraiser in Lee County since 1980. He entered the office after serving in the U.S. Army for four years during the Vietnam War and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in business and college administration.

Over his tenure as property appraiser, Wilkinson drafted a number of amendments to the Florida Constitution. In 1992, he created the “Save Our Homes” legislation that put a three percent cap on assessed values. It was later modified earlier this year by Amendment 1.

For this ballot, Wilkinson assisted with drafting four of the amendments to Florida’s Constitution while serving on the Budget and Taxation Reform Commission, which meets every 20 years to make amendment recommendations.

Amendments on the general election ballot related to property included improvements on residential property that won’t factor into assessments, property tax exemptions to landowners who choose to conserve their property, funding local community colleges and the assessment of waterfront properties.