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Property appraiser race features Republican primary

By Staff | Jul 31, 2020

The Lee County Property Appraiser race appears on both the Aug. 18 Primary Election and Nov. 3 General Election ballots.

The Republican primary has two candidates – Matt Caldwell and Matt Miller. The top vote-getter will advance to the General Election, where write-in candidate Elaina Cosentino has qualified.

The Republican primary candidates are:

– Matt Caldwell, 38

Caldwell is a life-long Lee County resident who is currently the property appraiser at Maxwell, Hendry, & Simmons and Partner at TM Strategic Counseling. Caldwell began in the appraisal industry in 2002 and joined his current firm in 2004.

“I am experienced in multiple property types, as well as litigation related services, being qualified as an expert witness in multiple jurisdictions,” Caldwell wrote in response to The Breeze. “I was a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 2010-2018, serving on several committees including tax policy, redistricting, insurance, and banking. I also chaired subcommittees and full committees related to agriculture, natural and public lands, transportation and infrastructure, local, federal, military affairs, & oversight of government operations, such as pensions & elections. I ran unsuccessfully for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 2018, falling short by the 2nd closest statewide margin in modern Florida history. Today, I am a full-time appraiser and consultant.”

From 2010-2018, Caldwell served as Florida House District 79 Representative. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2004. Caldwell is a board member of the Lee County Republican Executive Committee and lives in North Fort Myers with wife Yvonne and a daughter.

“I am 7th generation Floridian and have always made public service a foundation in my life,” Caldwell wrote of why he is running. “I believe strongly in good stewardship of tax dollars, limited government, and conservative values, and I am ready to take these principles into the office of Property Appraiser.”

Planks of his platform include Constitutional liberties, limited government, term limits and defender of the Second Amendment.

His top three issues are stewardship of tax dollars, limited government and streamlining services.

– Matt Miller, 50

Miller is a 28-year resident of Lee County and is owner of M&M Horticulture in Alva. Miller served a total of 10 years in the US Air Force, including four years active duty and six years as a Reservist at Homestead Air Force Base, from 1989-1998, successfully completing tours of duty in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm with commendations. Miller received numerous achievement medals during his tour of duty.

His online biography cites “a passion for community service” and volunteerism which includes hours at the Gulf Coast Humane Society, passing out food provided by the Harry Chapin Food Bank from the church’s pantry every Friday, “taking an expedition to Guyana to drill wells for clean drinking water” and sponsoring a Relay for Life team in Lehigh Acres.

Miller is husband, father of five and grandfather. Miller, along with his wife, Dawn and their family reside in Alva.

Miller said he is running because he “strongly believes that we must return to the intentions of our founding fathers and restore our government by the integrity of the US Constitution.”

According to his biography, Miller “believes that our government should be treated like a business and advocates for saving the taxpayers money by cutting out unnecessary spending, and reforming policies and procedures that cause over-spending and waste,” saying he believes that “the budgets are artificially bloated due to lag times in budgetary projections for the future.”

Planks of his platform include restoring state’s rights, preserving private property rights, safeguarding Second Amendment rights, maintaining local control over education, private over public sector and others.