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Congressional District 19 race has two announced candidates

By Staff | Jun 10, 2016

With U.S. Congressional District 19 incumbent Curt Clawson saying he will not seek re-election, the race that includes most of Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel has attracted two announced candidates so far, both Republicans.

* Chauncey Goss

Chauncey Goss, a Sanibel Island businessman and council member, said he decided to “jump in with both feet” when Congressman. Curt Clawson announced he would not seek re-election this year.

“I got in basically, for the same reason I ran in 2012, I don’t like the direction things are going in Washington D.C. The status quo is hurting this country and hurting us here locally,” Goss said in regards to water quality.

Goss said he has begun vigorously and actively building his campaign for Congress.

“It will be an abbreviated campaign with the election in three months,” he said, adding he has been phoning his supporters and finding they will help.

“I am really encouraged (with) what I have been hearing from people,” he said of his supporters, who live from Naples to Cape Coral. “That is excellent. I like the responses I have received.”

Although there are many reasons why he is running for Congress – over regulation, federal health care, federal debt – water quality and the discharge from Lake Okeechobee is an issue Goss deeply cares about.

“It needs to be brought to the forefront, in front of the radar screen of policy makers,” he said.

Goss said it is a real problem that needs fixing now, not 30 years down the road. He said although they have had advocates speaking up about the issue when the water quality goes bad, once the water clears up people begin forgetting about the issue.

“We need to fix the long-term problem,” Goss said. “That is going to, unfortunately, have to come from Washington.”

The issue is going to take a lot of money to fix, which a member of congress to get behind and fight for water quality is needed.

Goss said although Clawson leaving is unfortunate, he had already begun sharing the strong message of fixing the large issue of Lake Okeechobee discharge.

“I want to pick up the baton from Curt and keeping running with it,” he said.

Goss would have to step down this December from his duties on the Sanibel council if he wins the race because he would be sworn into office in January.

“I would like to serve as long as I can,” he said.

Goss lives on Sanibel with his wife Allison and three sons. He received a bachelor’s degree from Rollins College and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.

He is the son of former U.S. congressman Porter Goss, who also served as the director of the CIA under President George W. Bush.

Chauncey Goss’s background include time in Washington where he served as a senior staffer for the Office of Management and Budget.

* Francis Rooney

Naples resident Francis Rooney also has announced his bid for the United States House of Representatives 19th Congressional District.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to have the opportunity to run for this important position,” Rooney said.

He decided to run because he believes there is a currently a serious problem in this country. After writing op-eds for many years regarding what he felt should change, Rooney believes running for Congress will give him a different platform to try and make some changes.

“I want to get our country back in gear,” Rooney said, which includes fostering economic opportunities through job creation. “We really appreciate the diverse and engaging people in our community. Because of that we have a unique opportunity to create an economy of the future, so people live where they want. Young people have the opportunity to have good jobs and careers right here in Lee and Collier County.”

When Rooney was 26 years old he took over the family construction business with his brother. He said the economy was really bad, and they were struggling to pay their bills. Determination pushed them through the hardship and they were able to rebuild the company after Ronald Reagan was elected as president in 1980.

“He restored confidence in our country,” Rooney said.

The cut in taxes and spending, as well as setting companies on both a sound economic and secure footing, he said, helped in building companies, provided a good career and the opportunity to fulfill the American dream.

Now, the company has spread throughout the country and into foreign countries with good standing. The employees, Rooney said, own a good piece of the company.

“I have a freedom to try public service to help improve things to come after me,” he said, because the company is doing well.

In addition to creating jobs, water quality is also a topic that is important because it is what brought Rooney and his family to the area. Rooney said Rep. Curt Clawson has done a lot of good work on water quality issues for the area.

“Everybody has their own personal style. I have my style and it’s probably different than Curt,” he said. “I’m very much interested in making a difference.”

Rooney said if he should be fortunate enough to win the election and represent the people of Lee and Collier County he will unite the Florida delegation to increase impact on the issue. He also will obtain funds and take care of infrastructure needs, such as repairing the Everglades watershed, which he believes is a top priority for the country.

The date for the Primary Election is Aug.30. The General Election is Nov. 8