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State Senate District 27 seat to feature Republican primary

By Staff | Aug 11, 2020

The Florida Senate District 27 race will appear on the Aug. 18 Primary Election ballot – for voters who have registered their party affiliation as Republican – and on the Nov. 3 General Election ballot.

The primary in August has two Republican candidates: Heather Fitzenhagen and Ray Rodrigues. The top Republican vote-getter will advance to the General Election and face Democrat Rachel Brown.

Florida is a closed primary election state. As such, only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote for respective party candidates or nominees for an office during a primary election.

REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

– Heather Fitzenhagen

PHOTO PROVIDED Heather Fitzenhagen

Seat sought/district: Florida Senate District 27

Party: Republican

Age:

Education/degrees: BA from Hollins University and JD from Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center

Occupation and place of employment: Current State Representative for District 78 and former trial attorney

PHOTO PROVIDED Ray Rodrigues

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: I have lived in the district/county since 1993.

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking: Founder of Resolution Strategies, a mediation and arbitration company; marketing director at Condo & HOA Law Group; and Morgan & Morgan attorney

Political experience/offices held: Current State Representative for District 78

Civic/community involvement: I have served as a member of several organizations, including the Betty Allen Gynecological Foundation, Lee County Association of Women Lawyers, American Heart Association, PACE Center for Girls and Hope Clubhouse.

Family: My kids and I live in Fort Myers.

PHOTO PROVIDED Rachel Brown

Military Experience: None

Website: “https://heatherfitzenhagen.com”>heatherfitzenhagen.com

Planks of your platform: I refuse to take money from or cave to special interests that don’t represent Southwest Florida’s values. I will fiercely protect and clean up our waterways with a multi-faceted plan. I will fight for business deregulation to boost the economy after COVID-19. I will work toward better care for our vets, including mental health awareness and advancements. I will protect the rights of gun owners, being a gun owner myself. I will work toward a partnership with the federal government to reform immigration and crack down on corporations that benefit from illegal immigrant’s cheap labor. A lot of people are counting on me to keep the Senate in Republican hands, and as a lifelong Republican in this bright red district, I won’t let them down.

Why you are running: The people of SD-27 deserve a choice in who represents them – someone who cares about the issues of Southwest Florida like clean water and jobs, rather than catering to special interests in Tallahassee. I have made every effort to really listen to my constituents and make sure that I am voting in line with their voice. I have made it clear that I am not here for my own agenda, but for the will of the voters. We need more Florida senators who are willing to commit to the same.

Top three issues: Water – Clean water is the most valuable resource in the world and the lifeblood of Florida’s economy. I have stood strong against Big Sugar and other industries that dump harmful nutrients into our lakes. I have fought hard to clean up our water quality and make sure that our generations can enjoy and profit from our resources in the future, and I am eager to continue the fight in the Senate. Economy – Since water is so closely intertwined with Florida’s economy, it makes sense that bolstering the economy be one of my top priorities. So many of our residents depend on boating, fishing, and tourism for their livelihoods, and they need a partner in the Senate to voice their concerns and act on their behalf. I will also work to cut the red tape that binds up small businesses like independent pharmacies from serving their community. Mental health – I have worked for various Florida mental health organizations in a legislative capacity and as a member of this community. I have implemented a “Camo Alert” as a solution for veterans who are struggling with mental illness. I am looking forward to broaden Florida’s access to mental health resources in the Senate.

– Ray Rodrigues

Seat sought/district: Florida Senate District 27

Party: Republican

Age: 50

Education/degrees: Bachelors, Berry College, 1992; Masters in Public Administration, FGCU, 2017

Occupation and place of employment: Budget manager for the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: I moved to Lee County in 1994 and have lived in Estero since 2005.

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking: Since 2012, I have served in the Florida House of Representatives. During this time I served as the vice-chair for the Ways and Means Committee, the Majority Leader for the Republican Caucus and the chair of the Health and Human Services Committee.

Political Experience/offices held: I served as the vice-chair of the Lee County Republican Party and fought in the Florida Legislature for issues that matter to our community, including restoring and preserving our water quality, an open and transparent government, and lower taxes. I also spent two of my eight years in the Florida House as Majority Leader.

Civic/Community involvement: Prior to my service in the Florida House of Representatives, I served on the Lee County Housing Authority, held elected office on the Stoney Brook Community Development District, served on the Charter Review Advisory Committee to the Lee County Board of Commissioners and served as the vice-chair of the Lee County Republican Executive Committee. I serve as a deacon at my church, Gulf Coast Church of Christ.

Family: My wife, Ruth, and I have been married for 26 years and have a 17-year-old son, Rhett.

Military Experience: N/A

Website: isayray.com/

Planks of your platform: Reduce the size and scope of government; keep the government transparent and accountable to the people; protect our most vulnerable citizens – the unborn, the disabled and our elderly; and support President Donald Trump.

Why are you running: While I am proud of my accomplishments during the past eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, there remains much work to be done. Florida has to get its economy re-opened and our citizens safely back to work. Furthermore, steps should be taken to address the COVID-19 crisis. My strong record supporting the business community and serving as chair of the Health and Human Services Committee equips me to help lead this effort.

Top three issues: Rebuild the economy; fighting against discharges from Lake Okeechobee; and supporting law and order during this civil unrest

GENERAL ELECTION

– Rachel Brown

Seat sought/district: Florida Senate District 27

Party: Democrat

Age: 25

Education/degrees: Environmental engineering student at Florida Gulf Coast University. Also, I have a certification in forest gardening.

Occupation and place of employment: Working on the campaign full time.

Time in the district in which you are running; years of residency in Lee County: Seven years of residency in Lee County; born and raised in Southwest Florida.

Business or professional experience applicable to the office you are seeking: I study environmental engineering – dealings with excess runoff in waterways/waste management/pollution control and prevention.

Political experience/offices held: No office held.

Civic/community involvement: I have lead climate strikes and community events.

Family: My father comes from a long line of Floridians. My mother is a first-generation immigrant from Costa Rica.

Military Experience: None

Website: RachelBrownforFloridaSenate.com

Planks of your platform: Legal right to clean air and water for all; Florida Climate and Economic Defense Initiative; Medicaid expansion; decriminalize drug possession; end mandatory minimums; eliminate the black market of human trafficking by decriminalizing prostitution and shifting funding toward rehabilitation; voter accessibility – online voting, rank choice voting, open primaries and expand vote by mail; safer roadways; liveable wage; and emergency preparedness

Why you are running: People of Lee County have been overlooked by their legislators for too long. We need new people in office.

Top three issues: Legal right to clean air and water for all; safe roadways; and fight human trafficking

All biographic information has been provided by the candidates.