Kuehn selected to fill Grill’s seat
Erick Kuehn was selected to take the District 5 council seat Monday, replacing Eric Grill, who was removed from the position by Gov. Charlie Crist.
Kuehn, a retired teacher and insurance agent, has been a resident of Cape Coral for seven years.
He describes himself as a “self appointed community activist,” and was selected on the strength of his attendance of council meetings, which he does regularly.
He was selected from a pool of 17 applicants, all with varied backgrounds, job histories and political experiences.
He was voted the top candidate by Councilmembers Pete Brandt, Bill Deile, Chris Chulakes-Leetz and Mayor John Sullivan.
Kuehn joins those four on the dais each having signed the so-called “Contract with Cape Coral,” a loose agreement that promises reform in the city, including reduced spending and restarting the Kessler audit.
Despite having signed the contract, Kuehn said previously he had no ties to special interest groups in the city.
During his 3-minute interview before council, he maintained that he has no ties.
“I’m an independent thinking person … but it doesn’t mean my thinking isn’t the same as other people,” Kuehn told council.
Prior to the last City Council election, Kuehn contributed $425 to Sullivan’s campaign and $200 to Chulakes-Leetz, according to records.
Kuehn beat out some names that are familiar on the Cape political landscape, including former District 5 candidates Gloria Baron and Bennie Barnes. Both Barnes and Baron ran against Eric Grill for the seat two years ago, with Baron losing to Grill by a slim margin in the general election.
Former Mayor Roger Butler was also passed over in favor of Kuehn, as were former or current law enforcement officials, an attorney, a small business owner and a communications officer for a local non-profit organization, among others.
Kuehn said he views his years as an insurance agent being comparable to public service, and that many former clients became close personal friends.
His resume lists him as being a member of the Cape Coral Civic Association, a fiscal conservative and “being instrumental in stopping the $110 million Public Safety Building.”
Kuehn said his focus will be the people of the city and of his district.
“I made a commitment to myself for the people of Cape Coral, which is who I stand for,” he said.