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Cape Chamber holds candidate ‘Hobnob’

By Staff | Aug 7, 2015

It was a chance for potential Cape Coral voters to meet the candidates in an informal setting, learn what they stand for and maybe have a drink or two.

All but one of the candidates for the Cape Coral City Council was at Gulf Coast Village on Wednesday as the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce held its Candidates Hobnob. The meet-and-greet featured a raffle, straw poll conducted by the Lee County Supervisor of Elections and a (very) few words from the candidates on stage.

The Hobnob began in 2007 as a different offering from the traditional forum the business group used to do, said Chamber President Donna Germain.

“It’s a way for the candidates to meet their constituents one-on-one without all the speeches they hear at the forums. It’s an opportunity for them to ask the questions they want answered,” Germain said.

The candidates had 30 seconds to introduce themselves and explain why they are running, with former mayor Joe Mazurkewicz keeping time in the background.

Among those conducting the straw poll was Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington, who brought the same ballots and machines voters will see on Election Day.

Harrington said she would also register people to vote, which wasn’t really necessary since most of the attendees were regular voters.

“It’s notorious for municipalities to have low turnout for elections. Getting the candidates to get excited is the way to go,” Harrington said. “There’s no reason to not vote it’s so easy.”

Many of those who attended had a certain issue they wanted addressed. Lynn Pippinger, owner of the Dixie Roadhouse, was especially interested in candidate views on the 4 a.m. closing time for bars and nightclubs in the South Cape.

“It’s important to us that the 4 a.m. ordinance is continued. We are encouraging everyone to register to vote and know what the candidates think about the ordinance,” Pippinger said.

Mike Fosselo, who runs the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions, is looking for a candidate who is into sports, as the team is interested in building a soccer facility.

“We talked to one candidate, without informing him of our plan, who wanted to place a big emphasis on sports and the development of kids. That really appealed to me,” Fosselo said.

Heather Mazurkewicz also spoke to all the candidates and said she was impressed by the depth of knowledge they had.

“Some are new to the political scene, but they have the drive to do what’s right. It doesn’t matter what district you live in. Everyone will be affected by the outcome of the election,” Mazurkewicz said. “I want the candidates to be accessible, look at all sides of an issue and be about public safety and economic development.”

Former council member Gloria Tate had also spoken with the candidates, and while she impressed with their energy and that they wanted to spur economic development, she didn’t hear an answer how they would do it.

“They walk about what they would do to help the tax base, but haven’t heard a plan for how they would do it,” Tate said.

“I’ve talked with a few of them who haven’t come up with a dialogue that tells me how they would improve the city,” she said, adding that she has a good idea for whom she will vote.

The full slate for upcoming municipal election is:

District 2

Michael S. Bogliole

John Carioscia (incumbent)

Kirk LaGrasta

Richard Lee Repasky

District 3 (no incumbent)

Chris Cammarota

Jerome Doviak

Marilyn Stout

District 7 (no incumbent)

Timothy W. Barrier

Jessica Cosden

Samuel J. Fisher

Cape Coral municipal elections are non-partisan, citywide elections, meaning all registered voters may cast a ballot in all races regardless of party affiliation and the district in which the voter resides. (Council candidates must, however, live in the district they seek to represent.)

The Primary Election is Sept. 15. The General Election, among the top two vote getters in each race, is Nov. 3.

Breeze pre-election coverage may be found online at cape-coral-daily-breeze.com under News. Click on Election 2015.