Issue 30 | January 2023
Planning Meeting via Zoom
Now is the Time for All Good Dems to Come to the Aid of Our Party!

As we enter the New Year and move forward into the next election cycle, Lee County Democrats know it is important for us to have a plan, a strategy, and goals to move ahead. To that end, we will be meeting in early January with interested DEC members and volunteers in a strategic planning session for 2023-24.
 
This meeting will be held virtually and will be open-ended. Some of the topics we want to discuss include:
  • Finding viable candidates for local and county offices
  • Providing training and other support services to candidates
  • Securing stable means of finance
  • Messaging
o Communications channels
o Effective messages
  • Building party infrastructure
  • Increasing the volunteer base
  • Planning the 2024 campaign(s)
For details about the meeting, contact LeeCountyDems@gmail.com
Time to Renew Your Vote-by-Mail Request

Back in 2021 the GOP-led Florida legislature approved a number of vote suppression tactics. One of these was to make Vote-by-Mail requests good for only one general election cycle. VBM requests now expire at the end of the calendar year following a general election. Since 2022 was a general election year, all VBM requests expired last December 31. So if you voted by mail in 2022, you'll need to make a new request for the next election. That means it's now time to sign up again for Vote by Mail. Even though the election seems a long way off, sign up now so you'll be set thru 2024! Go to lee.vote and get it done!!!
Put the Right to Clean and Healthy Water in the Florida Constitution

Do you support Floridians' right to clean and healthy water? You can do something about it! A constitutional amendment to guarantee that right has been proposed and may be considered in 2024, but only if enough signatures can be collected. Nearly a million signatures are required--gathered in two stages. For the first stage, 223,000 signatures are needed by March 1st. Then, the Florida Supreme Court will review the constitutionality of the proposal. If the Court approves the text of the proposed amendment, another 700,000 signatures must be collected to put it on the ballot. The sooner that supporters gather the first set of signatures, the sooner they'll learn whether the Court will clear the amendment, and the more time there will be to obtain the remaining 700,000 signed petitions. Recent news about a red tide bloom in the waters around Lee County with over 700 manatees starving this year from hunger makes this amendment even more important! Learn more about the amendment and find its text by going to floridarighttocleanwater.org.
Then, you can help in three ways:
1 .At floridarighttocleanwater.org, download & sign the petition.
2. Contact your club or caucus members and encourage them to sign if they haven’t already done so.
3. Attend the January 14 & 15, 2023 Cape Coral Art Show to help with the petition. Please contact Mary Kay Kralapp for details.
Share the message - #DemocratsDeliver #DemocratsCare
 
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Running for Office in Lee County

By Will Burke
Will Burke, a Democrat, set his sights on being elected to the Lee County Mosquito Control Board, one of many governmental boards in Florida elected on a non-partisan basis. These boards offer motivated Democrats an opportunity to get their names out there, learn how to run for and win elective office, and render valuable public service. Will tells us how he did it. Maybe you can, too! 
As Chairman of the Board of the Lee County Mosquito Control District, my work is ever changing and enlightening. Commissioners hear reports on the latest projects, any possible disease advisories, new technology and cost estimates for chemical bids, and aircraft parts. As an official, you get a first-hand window into how things work. For instance, our yearly budget is set in September of the prior year. All of our projected costs are totaled, and if expenses come up that are unforeseen, they come before the Board. What I look forward to are the meetings in which we compare the projected budget to what was actually spent that year. More often than not, our projections are spot on.

What did you learn from the experience of running? 
During my campaign, I always felt as though I was 3 weeks behind no matter what was happening. It was just myself and my wife, Sara, working on it and we had to budget our time carefully. Budgeting for advertising expenses and phone banking took the bulk of our time. Although this was in 2020 during the height of Covid, I was able to attend far more meetings via zoom than I would have otherwise.
A lot of voters in Lee County want to know that there are people who care, who are invested in the community. This was encouraging, since campaigning in 2020 was an isolated affair. I received almost no pushback from anyone in the community; those negative comments came entirely from Facebook however. Use Facebook, but don’t rely on it.

As a candidate, you are constantly self-assessing, constantly asking the questions: “Am I ready, do I know enough?” After running, I now know certainly that you are never truly “ready” and there is no such thing as knowing “enough.”

Start early! I started thinking about my race in 2017.

When you find yourself thinking about a particular office, attend their meetings, learn everything you can about that body, whether it’s the school board, a city council, public library board, or county commission. When you find yourself looking up a current elected figure’s margin for victory, and whether they faced a challenger in the previous election, you’re halfway ready to declare your candidacy!

Will you be using that experience and running for anything else in Lee County?
At this point in my career, I want to do more to set up LCMCD for the future. There is no ‘finish line,’ but I’ll continue to ensure that our tax dollars are spent wisely and we receive world-class service.
Club/Caucus of the Month
Lee Democratic Women's Club's (Lee DWC) 2023 Plans

By Sandra McClinton
Our state Democratic Women’ Club has its objectives to provide support for Florida Democrats and democratic values, and to promote qualified candidates for political office. To do that, in a non-election year the Lee DWC plans to keep our members engaged, recharged, grow our membership (almost 80 members) and increase our coffers.
We want to put the “fun” back in fundraising, so we are thinking about ideas such as cruises, maybe taking a sailboat out of Naples or cruising the waters of Pine Island Sound. Our club needs to increase its revenue so that we can do a host of activities, such as campaign donations, tabling at events, and sponsoring people to go to convention and Tally Days.

We will continue our charitable giving through our Annual Holiday Auction where we raise money for needy girls to go to summer camp at the Quality Life Center. This year we raised over $1,800 for that purpose with Jim Helms acting as auctioneer and Ruth Fotovat and Helen Dixon being the helping elves. We also got the opportunity to bring in toys for the Tropical Isles Elementary School students who lost everything during Hurricane Ian. We will once again, collect feminine personal hygiene products for the Pace Center for Girls and a group called “After the Rain”, which provides 28-day recovery programs for women.
We are organizing a Book Club and have a leader--new member Choon Dho--and fifteen signed-up members. We will meet quarterly, starting in March 2023, and the first book will be Health Care Revolt by Michael Fine, MD.

We will continue to have excellent speakers such as Dr. Deborah Silvers from the Neuropsychiatric Research Center, who will be speaking on “Memory Loss, Early Detection” at our meeting on January 14, 2023.
What Dems are Reading

How do Democrats become Informed Democrats? One way is to join a Book Group. The Democratic Club of Southwest Fort Myers has a group that meets at 10AM on the second Thursday of the month. Here's their list for the coming months:

 Nina Totenberg, Dinners with Ruth. An extraordinary account of two women (Nina Totenberg and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) who paved the way for future generations by tearing down professional and legal barriers. It is also an intimate memoir of the power of friendships as women began to pry open career doors and transform the workplace. At the story’s heart is one, special relationship: Ruth and Nina saw each other not only through personal joys, but also illness, loss, and widowhood.
Imani Perry, South to America. An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South, this is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life.

Sheldon Whitehouse, The Scheme: How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse here turns his attention to the right-wing scheme to capture the courts, and how it influenced the Trump administration's appointment of over 230 "business-friendly" judges, including the last three justices of the United States Supreme Court.

Geraldine Brooks, Horse. Brooks uses the true story of a 19th century racehorse to explore the roots and legacy of enslavement in America. From a discovery in the Smithsonian, Brooks weaves a tale of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history.

Carol Leonnig, Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service. The first definitive account of the rise and fall of the Secret Service, from the Kennedy assassination to the alarming mismanagement of the Obama and Trump years, right up to the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.

Michelle Obama, The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.
Obama opens a frank and honest dialogue with listeners, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?

If you'd like to learn more about this group, contact Sue Stranahan. Also, the Democratic Women's Club will be starting a book group in March. Their inaugural reading is Health Care Revolt by Michael Fine, MD. We'll share their list when it develops.

Does your Club have a book group? What are you reading? When do you meet? Share your information with readers of the Informed Democrat.
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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