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Election 2022: Candidate Question of the Week – Why are you running? Top three issues?

By Staff | Jul 8, 2022

Each week through the primary, The Breeze will ask the candidates for Cape Coral City Council an issue-related question. In the interest of fairness, each candidate is limited to the same amount of space, about 100 words, for their response. This week’s Question of the Week has two parts: Why are you running? Top three issues?

The 2022 municipal election for Cape Coral City Council features four races — the seats for mayor and Districts 1, 4 and 6. While candidates must live in the district they seek to represent, Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan, citywide races, meaning every registered Cape voter, no matter their party affiliation or city address, may cast a ballot in every race in both the primary and general election.

Races with more than two qualifying candidates are placed on the primary ballot, which this year will be held Aug. 23 with Seats 1 & 4 on the ballot. The two primary candidates receiving the most votes in each race will then be candidates in the City General Election which also will include the District 6 seat and the race for mayor. (If there are fewer than three qualifying candidates in any a given race, their names will not appear on the primary election ballot. They will appear on the City General Election ballot only.)

Here are this week’s responses:

Primary Elections races: Cape Coral City Council Districts 1 & 4


Dr. Carol Rae Culliton

Why are you running:

I have been involved in projects that have improved Cape Coral and the lives of many Cape residents for many years. I feel that by being a part of the City Council I can have a greater impact on the city.

Top three issues:

– Water quality: We need to continue to push the state and federal agencies to control and remove the contamination from our waterways.

– Public safety: With the recent incidents of crimes and violence, we need to make sure our police and other first responders have the necessary resources and training.

– Strong economy: We need to work to expand our business base and develop light and medium industry.

Website: CullitonforCapeCoral.com

Jean Pierre Etcheverry Jr

Why are you running? I am running for Cape Coral City Council to serve a community that has encouraged and supported my family for over a decade. I am running for the privilege of becoming a key decision maker which represents our diverse community as well as provides a unique first responder perspective to both the decision-making process and the council table. I am running to use the skills and competencies I have learned both professionally and academically to keep ensure the City’s vision, mission, values, and priorities are properly aligned in those decisions and keep Cape Coral a thriving community.

Top three issues: The top three issues I am focused on are water quality, infrastructure, and public safety.

– Water quality – mitigation and restoration projects are crucial to maintain our environmental, human, and economic needs.

– Infrastructure – collaboration to develop a strategic plan which considers environmental and social concerns as well as the role of the business.

– Public safety – allocate fiscal resources to ensure public safety can carry out their vision and mission while meeting growing demands.

Website: makeithappenjean.wixsite.com/etcheverry4district1

Bill Steinke

Why are you running? I have been coming here since 1961, first lived here in 1977 and have been permanent since 1998 – long time. I have extensive business and leadership experience and wish to use it for the betterment of our City, its citizens and business owners, as well as my children and grandchildren that live here – I have a vested interest in Cape Coral’s future.

Top three issues:

– Infrastructure – we must catch up with the growth we have experienced over the last few years and be prepared for future growth.

– Water and environmental quality – from the start, Cape Coral has been considered a waterfront wonderland. We must continue the quest to be proactive with new measures and insure steps committed to previously are fulfilled to care for our waterways, estuaries, beaches and Gulf.

– Homes that are affordable for our workforce — our residents need services and business owners need workers. While we have 2% (ish) unemployment, the 98% that are working are far less than what we need. Affordability is a primary concern for them.

Website: www.BillSteinke.com

Ally Wharton

Why are you running?

Cape Coral is the fastest-growing city in Southwest Florida. There has never been a time more critical than now to plan for our future. I live here, work here and play here…and I hope to serve here, too.

You deserve a City Council member that represents all of Cape Coral. A leader with proven problem-solving skills and practical business experience that will hold our elected officials accountable. I’m proud to be that leader.

Top three issues:

– Livability

Continual improvement of quality of life

– Community

A place for our residents, businesses, and visitors

– Economic & Environmental Longevity

Website: voteallywharton.com


Joshua B. Clark

Why are you running?

As 20+ year business owner and Navy veteran I have learned the importance of serving my community. And making sure we plan for the future. My career in accounting will play an important roll in the financial needs of our city by keeping us fiscally responsible with our tax dollars. As a father of two I understand the need for expanding our community centers, parks and keeping Cape Coral on the correct path moving forward.

Top three issues:

1. Eliminating/amending ordinances that hinder the quality of life for hard-working families and small business owners

2. Expand infrastructure and look into restructuring roadways to accommodate the rapid growth of Cape Coral

3. Enhance our Parks & Rec facilities by supporting an indoor recreation community center & completing all GO bond parks in a timely manner.

Website: voteforjoshclark.com

Patty Cummings

Why are you running?

As a business owner and resident here in Cape Coral, I made a decision to run because it’s time for a change. I want to see projects move forward, better handling of the Waste Pro contract and less costly litigation with them, and committed hands-on leadership.

What are your top three issues:

– It’s imperative that council keeps up with maintaining services and plans for the future.

– The city must develop better ways to attract commercial businesses that creates better job opportunities.

– We must expand our police and firefighters, ensuring excellent public safety and security as we grow.

Website: www.votepattycummings.com

Jennifer I. Nelson, incumbent

Why are you running?

I ran in 2017 for my daughter and her generation. She was 11 and claimed she would never return to Cape Coral after college because there was nothing here for her. I’m running to finish what I started in making Cape Coral a place where future generations will want to return and lead.

Top three issues:

– Old Golf Course

Once the arsenic is remediated and the ground is safe, I would like to finish the purchase of the old golf course so that we have green space we can strategically develop as an amenity.

– Economic Development and Workforce Development

With our city nearing 200,000 residents, attracting targeted is important when developing our future workforce. The only way to address this is by promoting education beyond high school.

– Affordable Housing

As a member of the Affordable Housing Committee, I understand the challenges we face as a region. Madison Square apartments is the only affordable housing project we currently have but specifically for seniors. I welcome future meetings with developers who can assist us fill this need.

Website: jenn4capecoral.com

General Election Ballot:


John Gunter, incumbent

Why are you running?

I have had the honor and privilege to serve my community since 2017. I was elected as a Councilmember for District 1 and appointed as Mayor in January 2021. During my tenure I have always advocated for the best interest of our community and wish to continue to serve the residents of our city.

Top three issues:

1. Water Quality – I will continue to advocate for the best policies at the State level for our city involving water quality, Water Quality is the heartbeat of our community.

2. Public Safety – Provide the best Public Safety for our residents and ensure we keep pace with the continued growth of our city.

3. Fiscal Conservative – Always spend our tax dollars wisely and provide a high return on our investments while keeping our taxes low.

Website: votejohngunter.com

• Tom Shadrach

Why are you running?

City Hall is wasting millions on projects that seem to never end. I was ignored for simply asking questions and trying to get involved. I decided to step up and end the lack of transparency in city government. While serving on the Cape Coral Budget Review Committee, I discovered many ways to help alleviate the burden to taxpayers. I will put my 37 years of business experience and finance knowledge to work on day one.

Top three issues:

– Reduce property taxes, reduce project cost, and improve schedules

– Improve water quality and access

– Improve business opportunity and enrich community life

Website: shadrachformayor.com


Wayne Hecht

Why are you running?

I’m not a politician. I am a husband, father, own a local business and am a proud Cape Coral citizen. Most importantly, I am your neighbor and I want to see our city to continue to grow and prosper. I am running for city council to be a voice for the residents of Cape Coral that have been ignored for so long. I will help to move the city forward in a positive way. We need rational and responsible development, but also retain what makes our city so special.

Top three issues:

– Infrastructure

– Clean Waterways

– Public Safety

Website: waynehecht.com

Keith Long, incumbent

Why are you running?

Cape Coral is entering into a new era, and we need fresh political leaders to chaperone this era. As a lifelong resident, my primary reason for running is to ensure the integrity and beauty of Cape Coral is maintained through the responsible management of this significant growth.

Top three issues:

– Protect Your Tax Dollars: Doing more with the funding we have without needlessly increasing tax rates to help foster irresponsible spending.

– Proactive Infrastructure: For roadways, this means ensuring the growing demands are addressed with proactive measures to get ahead of the congestion rather than reactive.

– Support Public Safety and First Responders: Providing our first responders with the necessary requirements to continue providing the first class service our citizens have grown accustomed to.

Website: https://www.votekeithlong.com

Important Dates:

• Primary Election: Tuesday, Aug. 23

• Deadline to request that a Vote-by-Mail Ballot to be mailed: 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13

• Early Voting for the Primary: Saturday, Aug. 13, to Saturday, Aug. 20, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily.

• General Election: Tuesday, Nov. 8

For more information on the 2022 races and candidates:

• The Breeze will post all of its elections stories here at Capecoralbreeze.com.

• The Cape Coral City Clerk’s Office posts all city-election related documents, including campaign reports at capecoral.gov/department/clerk/Candidatereports.php.

• The Lee County Supervisor of Elections has a wealth of elections-related information concerning registration, voting, dates and candidate lists and documents on its website, lee.vote.

• The League of Women Voters, Lee County offers election-related information on its website, my.lwv.org/florida/lee-county, and plans a Virtual Candidate Forums before the primary.