Issue 31 | February 2023
Support the Lee County Democratic Party
Florida Democratic Party Leadership Will Pick New Chair, Address Weighted Vote
The Florida Democratic Party's leadership will gather in Orlando later this month to choose a new chair. Following the Party's poor performance in the 2022 election, State Party Chair Manny Diaz tendered his resignation.

As of January 29, the announced candidates to replace Diaz include Carolina Ampudia, Alex Berrios, Rick Hoye, and Annette Taddeo. Ampudia, a physician from Broward County, is President of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida. Berrios, from Palm Beach County, is a political consultant who founded Mi Vecino, an organization dedicated to registering voters. Hoye, an eighth grade teacher, is chair of Broward County's Executive Committee. Taddeo, from Miami-Dade County, is a former State Senator and recent candidate for US Congress.

Democratic Party officials who will decide on the new chair include the State Committeepeople from each county as well as certain Democratic office holders. Each county is allotted a male and a female Committeeperson, but the votes cast by counties are not equal. Instead, they are weighted, based on an elaborate formula that takes into account the county's percentage of state Democratic registration and votes cast for President, Governor and Senator. As a result, a single committeeperson may end up casting dozens of votes.

This process is controversial and the Democratic National Committee has discouraged having members cast multiple votes, going so far as to threaten that state parties using such methods may not have their delegates recognized by the Credentials Committee. Following the vote on Florida Democratic Party Chair, the State Party meeting is expected to address the weighted vote issue.
LEE Dems Outreach
by Eileen McHenry
Recruiting: LEE DEMS AT FGCU
Lee County Dems is once again an official host organization for students seeking their Service Learning credits from Florida Gulf Coast University. FGCU’s commitment to Service Learning is a core value for the University, and Lee County Dems welcome these great students to our volunteer efforts. 

Each year FGCU hosts two “Service Learning Fairs,” one in September and one in January. Hundreds of students come to the fair seeking opportunities like working with Lee County Dems. In the past, Lee County Dems has hosted many students and 2023 will be no exception. We already have several FGCU students signed up to help us at the CAPE PRIDE Festival March 4.
Mark your Calendar: LEE DEMS AT CAPE PRIDE, MARCH 4
 Come join your friends from Lee County Dems at our Information and Voter Registration Booth at the fair, which takes place in Downtown Cape Coral on Saturday, March 4. We need volunteers to register new voters and walk the crowd getting people enrolled in Vote By Mail. This event was a huge success for us last year. Please sign up here.
School Board Watch
Ed. note: With Ron DeSantis destroying public education in Florida to ingratiate himself to the MAGA crowd and propel himself to higher office, we’ll be keeping an eye on what’s happening locally with a regular feature by Sharon McGill in The Informed Democrat.

By Sharon McGill
As a community stakeholder who got involved with school district issues a few years ago, I'm concerned with how certain groups were controlling the narrative. I wasn't going to let them be the only voice heard.
As my first update about School District activities, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Superintendent of Lee Schools, Dr. Christopher Bernier. Lee County is fortunate to have Dr. Bernier and the team he has assembled.  Having been in this position less than a year, he has proven his leadership capabilities and commitment to the community. If you have the opportunity to hear him speak you will not be disappointed. He is more than willing to meet with all community groups as he understands the importance of every individual to help prepare all students for successful outcomes. Sadly, since the elected Superintendent referendum passed in November, he will have to decide whether he is willing to commit to a political campaign in 2024 to remain as Superintendent. Only time will tell.
Why I Am a Democrat
Reflections of a Former Democratic County Commissioner

By Mrs. Melvin Morgan
As a Ft. Myers native I have seen so much in the way of growth and change within the confines of our beautiful city and county. The years have been met with many challenges as well as some triumphs. As a young African American girl growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in Ft. Myers things were very different. Many of the freedoms that we as African Americans now enjoy were not afforded to people of color. The political environment as well as the social and economic environment was one of segregation and racial inequality. My decision to become a Democrat was not a decision I put a lot of thought to since I did not have a great understanding of the political structure. However my morals, my upbringing, and the ethics of my character are what drove my decisions. As I grew and became more socially astute and politically aware I saw that the sum of my character and beliefs were more in line with the values of what the Democrat party stood for. From that, I remained politically aligned with the Democratic Party for over 60 years.
As the first and the only appointed African American to serve as a Lee County Commissioner, I continue to stay well informed of the county decisions, policies, and practices made and see there is still a great divide within our county.
The Democratic Party has come a long way within the boundaries of the City of Ft. Myers and Lee County; and, both the city and county as a whole have made great strides to try and be inclusive to all, but we have a long way to go.
I will forever remain a Democrat with the hopes that we, as a county and country, find more common ground to grow together in unity.
Club of the Month
Lehigh Acres Democratic Club

The Lehigh Acres Democratic Club was established in 2019. We have two major goals. The first goal is to get the approximately 20,000 Democrats who live in Lehigh Acres to vote in every election. Our second goal is to attend community meetings so that we are knowledgeable about issues that affect Lehigh, and can have a voice in the resolution of these issues. We try to send representatives to meetings of the School Board, the County Commission and the Lehigh Municipal Services Improvement District.

Our president is Paula Blair, our vice president is George Ugartemendia, our secretary is Jackie Brown and our treasurer is Mary Beth Broderson, although we are about to hold elections for new leadership. At this time we are meeting on zoom, but we hope to have hybrid meetings as soon as possible. For more information about the club, contact Paula Blair by email at blairps@gmail.com or by phone at 239-940-9751.
Published monthly by the Lee County Democratic Party
Editor: Melissa Butler
If you have comments, questions, ideas about features you'd like to see, or would like to volunteer to help, contact us at informeddemocrat@gmail.com.
Subscribe at https://leecountydems.org
The Democratic Party of Lee County is an all-volunteer organization. We do not receive any funding from the Florida Democratic Party nor the national Democratic Party.
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