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Burch decides to run for re-election

By Staff | Jun 20, 2017

After publicly saying on several occasions that he would not seek re-election, City Councilmember Jim Burch has finally relented.

On Monday, Burch filed the necessary paperwork in the city clerk’s office as a candidate to retain his District 1 seat on council.

“Yes, after long deliberation I decided to run,” said Burch. “I decided the current council needs the leadership like the last four years. We’ve put the wheels back on the truck through the budget and are on our way. A lot of good things have happened in this city and we need to keep that going.”

Three other candidates have filed to run for the District 1 seat at this time, including Graham Morris, John Gunter and James Foraker. City voters also will elect representatives for Districts 4 and 6 as well as mayor.

So far there are six candidates running for mayor, three in District 4 and four in District 6.

Incumbents Richard Leon (District 4) and Rick Williams (District 6) are running for re-election to their respective seats, but Mayor Marni Sawicki has stated she will not run.

A Primary Election will be held for Sept. 12 with the General Election set for Nov. 7.

“I am not a career politician, never want to be and never will be,” Burch said of the hard decision. “Four years is a substantial amount of time to do certain things. I decided if I give it four more years. I will give it my all because everyone knows this city means a lot to me over the last 25 years.”

Burch is finishing up his second stint on council. He was the District 1 representative in 2008 and mayor in 2009.

“Between being mayor and a council member, I prefer to represent my district constituents,” Burch said. “I have been asked by many people to run for mayor, but have replied ‘absolutely not.'”

Burch has been a workhorse for the city by occupying seats on the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, Horizon Council, Metropolitan Planning Organization and working on city issues associated with pre-platted communities with the Florida Legislature.

“I’m proud of being named a Home Rule Hero four years in a row,” Burch said. “That says I’ve tried very hard to represent the residents and this city in being recognized as the 10th largest city in Florida. I’m not sure anybody else has been four years in a row.”

Burch is not concerned about his opponents in the race.

“I always tell people to look at the track record and mine speaks for itself,” he said. “I’ve been mayor and on council, run a business and raised my family here.”