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Mann, Miller battle for commission’s District 5 spot

By Staff | Oct 26, 2012

They’re both from Alva, but that’s where the similarities end for the two candidates battling for the District 5 seat on the Lee County Commission.

On one side is a lifelong Lee County native with years of political experience. On the other is a businessman who believes Lee County needs to become friendlier to business.

District 5 commissioner Frank Mann, a Republican, will take on Independence Party of Florida candidate Matt Miller on Nov. 6.

Frank Mann

Age: 71

Residence: Alva

Occupation: County Commissioner

Frank Mann has not only seen Lee County grow by leaps and bounds throughout his lifetime here, he has been part of that change.

It is for that reason that Mann, a former state Representative and Senator, wants to step in for another term.

“This is home and I want to take care of it. It’s an exciting place to live and represent during this dynamic time,” Mann said.

Mann has been a staunch opponent of using county reserves to balance the budget, saying that they won’t last forever.

“As the recovery lingers and we continue to flat line on revenue, we’re still $30 million upside down. I’ve continued to argue against using reserves. In two years, we’ll run out,” Mann said. “No one has been more outspoken about making more cuts than myself.”

The commission has reduced the budget by more than $100 million, but Mann said the county needs to cut another $30 million, which it hasn’t shown it wants to do.

“We haven’t gone through every department with a fine-toothed comb for areas to cut,” Mann said. “The alternative is to raise taxes and now is not the time.”

Mann respects his opponent’s desire to serve, but believes his own background gives him an edge.

“I’m pleased people are willing to serve, but my background gives me an edge in facing the challenges Lee County has,” Mann said.

Matt Miller

Age: 42

Residence: Alva

Occupation: Businessman

You see cars with his political candidacy all over Lee County. More than 300 of them. Matt Miller is serious about taking over the seat in District 5.

Miller said he doesn’t think everything the government does is wrong, but right now, it doesn’t seem to be doing much right.

“I’m running on principles. I don’t see a future the way the government spends money like drunken sailors,” Miller said. “We have 139 sources of revenue in Lee County and they want more.”

Miller, an Air Force veteran of Desert Storm who believes property taxes and impact fees are unconstitutional, said his big gripes are government spending and what he sees as a county that’s unfriendly toward business, which is why he does it elsewhere.

“I could have spent $250,000 to work in Lee County or spend $250 and work in Hendry County. That’s what happens when a city gets too greedy,” Miller said. “The fat cats have tapped into our reserves. We should have been working on our debt instead of buying and spending.”

Miller believes he’s just a businessman who wants to serve his people, then get out, and not become a career politician.

“I’m not a salesman. I’m not a career politician who hasn’t done anything but the same thing the past three years,” Miller said. “I just want to be a servant.”