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Benacquisto, Jordan face off for Dist. 30 state senate seat

By Staff | Oct 6, 2012

One candidate is the deputy majority leader in the state senate, the other is a longtime Fort Myers resident with ties to the community.

Democrat Debbie Jordan will attempt to unseat current 27th District Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Republican, on Nov. 6 in the new 30th District.

* Debbie Jordan

Age: 54

Home: Fort Myers

Occupation: business owner

Debbie Jordan has lived, worked and brought up her children in Lee County. She knows what it’s like to struggle and work with other people.

And she believes that is what makes her the better candidate to represent the 30th District in the state senate.

“I’ve been here all my life. Somebody who lives here should represent the area,” Jordan said. “I don’t need a GPS to know where I’m going. I’ve worked with local non-profits for 18 years. I have a lot vested in the area.”

Jordan, who ran for County Commissioner and lost in 2010, said her main concerns are with women’s issues, tourism and education.

“I have kids who go to public schools, and I want them to have an education that never fails,” Jordan said. “I was president of the Lee and Charlotte County Restaurant and Lodging Association for 18 years. I have an interest in tourism.”

Jordan also understands what people are going through, being the owner of Hogbody’s in North Fort Myers, which has had to close several restaurants in recent years because of the economy.

“I know how tough times are. It was a tough decision to close and consolidate. You look at your employees and try to keep it going so they have work,” Jordan said. “I have a good business sense.”

* Lizbeth Benacquisto

Age: 44

Home: Fort Myers

Occupation: State Senator

Lizbeth Benacquisto, elected to the 27rd District when Dave Aronberg ran for attorney general in 2010, is now looking for her first full term (which will be two years due to redistricting.) Benacquisto said her motivation to serve is to pay it forward.

“I believe in giving back to the community. We face many challenges and I believe we will overcome them,” Benacquisto said. “The community has stepped up and entrusted me with the opportunity to serve.”

Benacquisto said she is proud of her accomplishments in the Senate, including the Protection of Vulnerable Persons bill designed to protect children victimized by sexual abuse.

Front and center will be the economy and jobs.

“We’re focusing on getting the economy moving. We want a business climate to bring folks here,” Benacquisto said. “We do lots of work in the community with new business, old business, so we can stay in tune with their day-to-day challenges and what their hopes and opportunities are.”

Benacquisto said she doesn’t worry about what her opponent is doing. She’s just trying to do what her constituents want.

“The hallmark for my short term in office has been to listen to what the constituents have to say,” Benacquisto said. “For me, my passion is to serve and do what we can to improve the community.”