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Sheriff’s GOP primary offers contrast

By Staff | Aug 3, 2012

Incumbent Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott and challenger Tim Fisher, both Republicans, are slated to go head-to-head in the Aug. 14 primary election.

Only the Lee County voters who are registered as Republican can cast a ballot in the sheriff’s race in the primary. The top vote-getter will face off against two new candidates in November in the general election.

Candidate Lee Bushong is running for sheriff with no party affiliation and candidate Christian Meister is a write-in candidate on November’s ballot.

All Lee voters can cast a ballot in the sheriff’s race in the general election.

In the primary:

Tim Fisher

Age: 46

Residence: Cape Coral

Occupation: Former LCSO sergeant

“We need to get back to the basics of law enforcement,” Fisher said when asked why he is running for Lee County sheriff. “I’m a cop, not a politician.”

He cited a need for more deputies on the road and cuts to the department’s command staff as some of the reasons behind why he is seeking the office.

“So that we are a deterrent to crime,” Fisher said.

Asked why voters should pick him in August, Fisher said his opponent – Scott – has been sheriff for eight years, and Scott’s “political and biased agenda has not brought public trust and safety to” Lee County citizens.

“I have the experience in criminal law investigation that Mike Scott never had,” he added. “He does not know how to investigate crime.”

Fisher’s overall platform is getting back to the basics of law enforcement.

“I want to bring back the sheriff’s office to being the unbiased and impartial law enforcement agency that we need to be,” he said.

One focus is respectful communication with the public and employees.

“I want to restore public trust and safety as a priority, rather than as politics,” Fisher said.

He also cited aggressively combating violent crime, which he said has culminated with a 40 percent jump in murder, and reducing the sheriff’s budget, which he said has grown more than 30 percent in eight years.

“The citizens of Lee County deserve a sheriff that is not surrounded in controversy,” Fisher added.

Mike Scott

Age: 49

Residence: North Fort Myers

Occupation: Lee County sheriff

“Law enforcement, it’s my passion,” Scott said of why he is running for a third term as Lee County sheriff. “It’s what I’ve done all my life.”

He explained that as sheriff, he can continue to cut the sheriff’s budget and crime rate and implement programs, like the department wellness center.

“Things along that line that I want to continue,” Scott said.

Asked why voters should select him in August, he cited his work on seven consecutive budgets and four consecutive years of reduced budgets.

“I’m proven over eight years,” Scott said. “I think my performance at the FBI Academy speaks volumes and all the other training.”

He noted the still lagging economy, and explained that the person elected should be able to hit the ground running and not need to learn the ropes.

“I just don’t think it’s time for on-the-job training and a learning curve,” Scott said.

One of his priorities and a focus of his platform is the budget.

According to Scott, the challenge and goal is to provide and maintain high levels of service for Lee County citizens in a budget-friendly manner that is price tag mindful.

“Our portion of the budget is the largest component within county government,” he said, noting that reducing cost is always a priority.

“The budget really is going to continue to be the focus,” Scott added.

He cited public safety as another focus of his.

“We want to continue to be a safe place,” said Scott, who has contested Fisher’s crime stat arguments.