Lee school board looking at three fresh faces
Former Cape Coral Police Chief Arnold Gibbs feels he’ll be able to syphon voter support from incumbents who fell in Tuesday’s primary election when he faces Mary Fischer in the general election run-off in November.
Fischer, a school counselor, think her years of experience at various levels in the school system will be enough to push her over the top.
Fischer and Gibbs each failed to garner a majority of the vote Tuesday, setting up the run-off in November.
They both beat out John Traube, who garnered 20.15 percent, or 13,446, of the total vote.
Gibbs pulled 41.34 percent, or 27,586, of the total vote. While Fischer garnered 38.50 percent, or 25,691, of the total vote.
The former chief of police said he hoped to avoid the run-off but anticipated the possibility.
Instead of exclusively seeking the voting base who supported John Traube, he said he plans on looking at voters who supported incumbents.
“I will, of course, look to secure those votes (for John Traube), but the people that voted for the incumbents that lost are the people I expect to vote for me because they know I will continue moving forward and making some progress on the school board,” Gibbs said.
While not planning any major changes to the nuts and bolts of his campaign strategy, Gibbs did say he’ll have to work harder to get his message out.
“Voters will understand they have a person they can trust, who is proven, and has the best interest of our kids in mind,” Gibbs added.
Like Gibbs, Fischer said on Tuesday she plans on working “just a little bit harder” to gain the votes she needs to win the seat.
“My campaign has been very grass roots and I plan on continuing that approach,” Fischer said. “I just need to work just a little bit harder to gain the confidence of voters.”
Having worked at various levels within the school district, Fischer said she was confident she’d be able to reach those voters — specifically teachers and faculty — for the November run-off.
“I know the system inside and out … I work in the system and have my finger on the pulse of what’s happening,” she said.
John Traube did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Don Armstrong won the District 4 School Board seat ousting incumbent Steven Teuber, who served eight years on the board.
Armstrong garnered 52.03 percent, or 33,512 of the total votes, while Teuber garnered 47.97 percent, or 30,896 of the total votes.
Armstrong said he was “flabbergasted” by the win, and thanked Lee County voters for having confidence in him.
Armstrong may have had enough confidence in himself, though, as he said, “I told Teuber in April I would have his seat.”
He said his first order of business will be to address the school district’s “transportation problems,” specifically long bus rides, as well as listening to the “needs of the public.”
“We will be fixing the transportation issues. I’m going to work on long bus rides and shorten them. There will be no more wasteful bus rides; that’s the first thing I plan on addressing,” Armstrong said. “I’m going to work with our superintendent and find out how we can address this quickly. There’s no more long waiting for Lee County residents.”
During his eight years, Teuber said he was proud of the many accomplishments the school board was able to implement, including making Lee County one of the top school districts in the state, he said.
“We’ve done a lot, but there’s still a lot more to do,” Teuber said.
He congratulated Armstrong and Scott on their wins, but felt there was a general, anti-incumbent mentality among voters going into this election.
With not further political ambitions, Teuber said he will continue practicing law.
“I never had any political aspirations, I just wanted to be a public servant for my kids,” Teuber said.
The District 5 seat, held by Elinor Scricca for eight years, was won by Tom Scott with almost 58 percent of the overall vote.
Scott garnered 57.56 percent, or 38,376, of the total votes, while Scricca pulled 42.44 percent, or 28,298, of the total votes.
Neither Scott nor Scricca returned phone calls seeking comment.