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Sanibel mayor throws hat into 2016 Lee County Commissioner race

By Staff | Jun 5, 2015

For the last eight years, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane has led the barrier island community in city government and has spearheaded a state-wide push in water quality for Southwest Florida.

On Thursday morning in front of a group of supporters, Mayor Ruane announced he wants to take the next step in representing the people, by stating he will run for a Lee County Commission seat in 2016.

He also announced his last day of holding a Sanibel City Council seat will be Nov. 21, 2016.

“We need to be looking forward and not looking back,” Ruane said during his press conference. “We need to constantly strive and innovate and improve. My commitment from day one is to utilize my business experience and introduce fiscal responsibility in Lee County.”

Ruane has gained positive momentum the last couple of years by being the leader on the water quality white paper, which encourages clean water flow to Southwest Florida.

“Clean water and a healthy environment is a big issue for Lee County and I will continue to work with state and federal officials on this issue,” Ruane said.

Ruane went on to note some accomplishments he says have been met during his eight years as a Sanibel city councilman.

“We paid down debt, built up reserves and lowered taxes,” Ruane said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished. The election is still more than a year away, but I am excited and optimistic about this endeavor.”

Sanibel City Councilman Marty Harrity, who was mayor during the Hurricane Charley devastation to the island, said Ruane has been a dedicated citizen to Sanibel from the day he met him during a community meeting at the Holiday Inn after the storm.

“People were ticked off that they couldn’t get back on the island,” Harrity recalled. “People were upset. “Then at the back of the room, on the right hand side, some big guy in the corner had his hand raised. I said ‘Yes sir!’ He said, ‘How can I help?’

“He’s been helping Sanibel and Lee County ever since that day. He’s a born leader and he’s the guy we need on county commission.”

Ruane will be running for the Lee County District One seat, which is currently held by John Manning whose district also includes parts of Cape Coral.

Commissioners are allowed a maximum three, four-year terms.