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Meet the Candidates: Cape Coral City Council, General Election

By Staff | Aug 29, 2022

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. With the Primary Election now over, here are the candidates on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot.

(Information provided by the candidates.)

MAYOR

John Gunter, incumbent

Age:

Education/degrees: Studied Criminal Justice

Occupation/place of employment: President – Gulf Coast Premier Homes, Inc.

Years of residency: Lived in Cape Coral: Since 2007

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking: In addition to private-sector/business experience, membership and leadership roles on various leagues, committee and boards includes: Florida League of Mayors, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Florida League of Cities, Southwest Florida League of Cities, Transportation Advisory Committee and Metropolitan Planning Organization. Also served at Council liaison to the city’s Charter Review Commission, Community Redevelopment Agency, Budget Review Committee and Planning & Zoning Commission.

Political Experience/offices held: Appointed Mayor January 2021; Elected District 1 Councilmember 2017; Cape Coral Mayor Pro Tem November 2020 – January 2021; Council Office Manager 2021.

Civic/community involvement: Member – Rotary Club of Cape Coral

Family: Married to Teresa. Five children and six grandchildren.

Military Experience:

Website: votejohngunter.com

• Tom Shadrach

Age: 63

Education/degrees: John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University Master of Finance, Southeast Missouri State University Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Majors in Marketing & Finance

Occupation and place of employment: Retired from The Boeing Co., St. Louis, MO in 2017 after 37 years. Current owner of Rachman Industries based in Cape Coral. Dock Master at Freedom Boat Club, Cape Harbour, Cape Coral

Years of residency: Four years

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking: I led teams up to 500 employees, handling government contracts up to $1.5 billion. Cape Coral’s budget is around $1 billion. Among my projects was the F-15 Eagle aircraft contract with US government, where I helped secure a deal with the US Air Force. Responsible for the P-8 Poseidon program, it included airmen from the USA, India, UK, Australia, and Finland. We used simulators to train pilots and equip aircrew to identify and destroy enemy submarines. I traveled to the United Kingdom 13 times in one year to bring air traffic control simulation and training to military during the war in Afghanistan. Skilled in Program Management, Procurement, Contracts & Pricing and Negotiations. I currently serve on the Cape Coral Citizen Budget Review Committee which fueled my decision to run for Mayor.

Political Experience/offices held: None, first-time candidate

Civic/Community involvement: 25-year member of the Knights of Columbus; Member of BUPAC, Eagles, Coral Oaks Men’s Golf

Family: Married for 11 years to my second wife Michele and have a blended family, including two daughters, a son, a step-daughter, two step-sons and seven grandchildren, all under the age of 9.

Military Experience: None/37 years as a Defense Military Contractor

Website: shadrachformayor.com

DISTRICT 1

Dr. Carol Rae Culliton

Age: Ageless

Education/degrees:

Occupation and place of employment: President/Founder Brotherhood of Heroes CEO, President and Founder Gunterberg Charitable Foundation

Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: District 1 for 2.5-3 years

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking.

Political Experience/offices held: None

Civic/Community involvement: Civic/Community involvement: I’ve been involved for 12 years impacting Cape Coral by supporting several non-profit organizations as well as other community projects in Lee County. Cape Coral Animal Shelter, Cape Coral Art League, Cape Coral Caring Center, Cape Coral Museum of History, Cardiac Rehab Center of Cape Coral Hospital, Lee Health internal medicine residency clinic, Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, Cultural Park Theater, Junior Leadership of Cape Coral, Various scholarships,Guardian Angels for Special Populations, Gulf Coast Symphony, Holiday for Heroes, Hope Hospice, Leading Latina, Lee County Sheriff Community outreach center, Merchant Marine Monument, Midwest Food Bank, Oasis Charter Schools Stem Program, Pace Center for girls, Purple Heart Monument, Relocation of the Vietnam Wall, Sheriff Youth Activity League, Taste of the Cape, Holiday festival of lights, The Community Foundation, United Way School Resource center to name a few.

Family: Spouse Richard Metzger, son Adam Culliton, grandson Charles Culliton

Military Experience: None personally but many family members were in the service

Website: CullitonforCapeCoral.com

Bill Steinke

Age: 63

Education/degrees:College for Financial Planning, Certified Financial Planner; Real Estate Negotiation Institute, Certified Negotiation Expert

Occupation and place of employment: Director – Sales and Business Development, Aubuchon Homes, Inc. & Realtor, Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group, Inc.

Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: In District 1, 1998-2004 (six years) & 2017-present (five years) total 11 years in District 1. (Was in District 5 2007-2015 and District 3 2015-2017 and first rented in District 7 1977!)

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking.

Restaurant and Small Business Management 1977-1985

Certified Financial Planner and Field Vice President for American Express Financial Advisors 1985-2000

Business Creation, Development and Transfer 2000-2012 (Fort Myers Beach/ Cape Coral)

Real Estate Sales and Organizational Development 2011-present (Southwest Florida)

Political Experience/offices held:

No Political, although:

2022 President – Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association (almost 10,000 Members)

2022 Chairman – Participation Sub-Committee, Florida Realtor Political Action Committee (approximately 81,000 Members)

2020 Vice President – Florida Realtors District 5 (approximately 18,000 Members)

2017 President – Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association (approximately 8,000 Members)

2013 – present – Board of Directors, Florida Realtors (hiatus 2018)

Civic/Community involvement: 2009-2018 Volunteer Officer, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, 2004-2009 Youth Athletics (Soccer), Annual Helping Hands for The Holidays (Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish, Builders Care), Habitat for Humanity, Realtors Care (formerly the Housing Foundation), Fallen Heroes

Family: Engaged; four sons, nine grandchildren

Military Experience: None personally, Fourth son serving Fort Jackson, SC, Grandfather (raised me) – WWII, Uncle – Korea

Website: www.BillSteinke.com

DISTRICT 4

Patty Cummings

Age:

Education/degrees:

Occupation and place of employment: Business owner — Astro-Durance, Astro-Durance Bungee Studio and Astro-Durance Bungee Studios

Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: Eight years in Cape Coral

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking: Entrepreneur, Franchisor, Inventor, Business of the year award recipient 2013, Product of the year award 2018, Developed Certification program for a new category in fitness (Bungee Fitness) that I created in 2017, Created a step by step curriculum on “How to open a business?,” Developed a business mentoring program, Helped Hundreds of businesses open up in the nation, Author

Civic/Community involvement:Chamber Of Commerce, networking with small business to small business.

Family: One daughter, three sons and two granddaughters

Military Experience: none

Website: www.votepattycummings.com

Jennifer I. Nelson, incumbent

Age: 51

Education/degrees: University of Texas at Austin, BFA

Occupation/place of employment: Business/Non Profit Consultant

Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: Lived in Cape Coral since 2008, 14 years. Purchased home in District 4 in 2014, eight years in the district.

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking: Managed budgets up to $900,000,000. Accomplished career in non profit executive roles. Duties include supervision of teams up to 250 people, large-scale project management, fund raising, expense savings through 6-S efficiency models, and innovative ways to generate revenue.Government relations and community development. Logistics, transportation, and operations.

Political Experience/offices held: Cape Coral City Council Member, District 4

Civic/Community involvement: PACE Center for Girls Lee County Board Member 2012-present, SWFL Resiliency Compact 2021-present, Cape Coral Charter School Governing Board Member 2017-2019, Horizon Council, Executive Board 2017-present, Recycle Florida Today, Board chairman ex officious 2012-2017, Lee County Sustainability Committee, 2012-2016

Family: Daughter, Piper age 17

Military Experience: None

Website: jenn4capecoral.com

DISTRICT 6

Wayne Hecht

Age: 57

Education/degrees: Auction Marketing Institute, CAI, GPPA Designations-1994 (Certified Auctioneer, Certified Personal Property Appraiser); Florida Licensed Real Estate Associate-2002

Occupation and place of employment: Director of Operations, Tiger Capital Group, www.tigergroup.com

Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: Nine years

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking: Currently as Director of Operations for Tiger Capital Group. I propose and review budgets for the sales of over $1B in assets annually, supervise a direct staff of five+ full time company employees, manage and supervise well over 120 contractors, manage partner relations, and oversee vendor projects.

Political Experience/offices held: Current President Cape Coral Half Century Softball League

Civic/Community involvement: USCG Auxiliary, Captains for Clean Water, CERT, Team Rubicon, Rotary Club, Northwest Cape Coral Neighborhood Association, Past Board Member South Florida Bar Grievance Committee, Past Board Member Cape Coral Water Advisory Board

Family: Married

Military Experience: N/A

Website: waynehecht.com

Keith Long, incumbent

Age: 32

Education/degrees: Florida Gulf Coast University; B.A. Political Science; University of Miami School of Law – J.D.

Occupation and place of employment: Attorney, Long Law, P.A.

Time in the district in which you are running/years of residency: My wife and I are lifelong residents of Cape Coral. Purchased our current home with our three young children (1, 4 and 5) in District 6 in 2019.

Business experience applicable to the office you are seeking: I believe my training and work experience as an attorney is perfectly suited for the work before me as the current District 6 Council member as it allows me the ability to view the issues through a particular analytical lens that others without extensive experience analyzing comprehensive documents are not able to. I also through my legal practice deal with planning matters before dozens of municipalities throughout the state, which provides a great deal of perspective in the planning process that I can apply to planning matters that come before Council in nearly every meeting.

Political Experience/offices held: Councilmember, District 6 – Cape Coral City Council (Appointment); Member – City of Cape Coral Transportation Advisory Committee; Member – Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization; Member – Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership; Liaison – City of Cape Coral Waterway Advisory Board

Civic/Community involvement:

Family: Wife of 10 years, Kristi Long; children Harper (5) Evan (4) and Lucas (1)

Military Experience: N/A

Website: https://www.votekeithlong.com

Important Dates:

• General Election: Tuesday, Nov. 8

• Deadline to request that a Vote-by-Mail Ballot to be mailed: 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 29

• Early Voting for the Primary: Monday, Oct. 24, to Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily.

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 will host Virtual Candidate Forums before the General Election.

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