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Jennings, Goss win City Council seats

By Staff | Mar 10, 2015

Sanibel City Council’s two open seats were filled Tuesday, March 3, in the local elections, as incumbent Jim Jennings and first-time City Council candidate Chauncey Goss prevailed.

First-time candidate Frances Slane fell short of her bid.

There was a total of 2,699 votes cast out of 5,572 registered voters on Sanibel.

Goss led the way with 1,280 votes or 47.42-percent, while Jennings hauled in 895 votes, which was 33.16-percent of the vote.

Slane finished with 524 votes, or 19.41 percent.

The second seat was left open when Vice-Mayor Doug Congress decided not to seek re-election.

“It was a great campaign, and I am very excited and appreciative of the voters who put faith in me,” Goss said.

Jennings will return to his seat on the City Council for his 12th year, after first being elected in 2003.

“I am grateful to the citizens that they have put their trust in my judgement,” Jennings said. “My goal is always keeping Sanibel the way it is.”

Jennings said this campaign was more low key than his previous ones and he drew off his experience from helping other candidates running for offices in the past.

“I bring good institutional knowledge and have an idea how to tackle the problems,” Jennings said. “The Council works well as a team, and everyone brings something different. I also have a lot of good contacts in government, which is important to keep things moving.”

Goss has a direct bloodline connected with Sanibel politics, since his father, Porter, was the first mayor of the city and was a main player in aiding the process of incorporating it as a city in 1974.

Goss also has strong connections on the federal and state level governments, after being on the Federal Budget Committee under President George Bush, and it’s a tool he plans on using to help benefit the City of Sanibel.

“I don’t need a lot of introductions (to other state and federal politicians), because they know me,” Goss said. “I have a solid reputation as a straight shooter.”

Following his father into Sanibel politics is something Goss is happy to do, even though there is a little added extra pressure. But the chance to serve his city he grew up loving and one his father help start, is the reward.

He added each campaign is different and this is not a sign of ambitions to run for higher offices in the future.

“It’s humbling, and daunting following my dad,” Goss said. “Dad and his colleagues worked incredibly hard to pull this together and 40 years later it has really worked out. I believe public service not a linear path, it’s a great opportunity to serve. It’s a chance to bring my skill set to helping this city.

“I am not looking at it as a launching pad at all.”

Both of the election winners feel the dynamics of the Council is an advantage working with each other, which in the end, benefits the citizens. Jennings welcomes Goss to the Council and the networking he brings.

“We’re going to have somebody who was an insider in Washington, and that will be invaluable, because Washington is a hard nut to crack,” Jennings said. “The good thing about the City Council, too, is we don’t have anybody who is a prima-donna, one who wants just their ideas count.”

Goss sees that cohesiveness as an advantage, but also the different qualities each member brings.

“Everybody brings something to the table,” Goss said. “Mick Denham has been very effective on the water quality issue, Jim Jennings has been on council for 12 years and knows the issues. Marty Harrity is a wonderful business man and Kevin Ruane’s reputation is very well respected, in which having a good reputation helps much, because people will listen to you.”

Goss and Jennings’ terms will begin Tuesday, March 17.