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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Environmentally Speaking

Feb 29, 2020 07:22AM

Town Hall Forum for Lee County Commissioner Candidates

Lee County Rights of Nature, Inc. (LEERON) a Florida nonprofit political action committee, and the Pachamama Alliance Community of Southwest Florida, are collaborating with Natural Awakenings magazine to organize a Town Hall Forum on March 12 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. for the purpose of offering Lee county residents the opportunity to hear from all candidates running for the board of Lee County commissioner positions in Districts 1, 3 and 5.


District 1, Michael J Dreikorn (R) Bokeelia and Kevin Ruane (R) Sanibel; District 3, Nicholas Batos (R) Estero, Ray Sandelli (R) Bonita Springs, and Todd James Truax (D) Bonita Springs; District 5, Juan A. Gonzalez (D) Lehigh Acres and Frank Mann (R) Alva. Additional elected positions may be added to the first forum.

Addressing Current Issues

Attendees can expect to hear comments from candidates regarding their opinions and positions on all environmental issues facing our communities. Examples are algal blooms, declining water quality, increased pollution from increasing human populations, development and overuse of fertilizers facing our community, and others. Currently candidates Batos, Dreikorn and Truax have agreed to participate.  

Local Organizations Asked to Participate

The current plan is to hold several events between March 12 (prior to primary) and the November election. Local organizations with environmental concerns, such as Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Audubon, Sierra Club, Sanibel-Captiva Conservancy Foundation, and others are invited to consider participating in these nonpartisan events by submitting questions they deem important for candidates to address. 

Moderators and Questioning

Presently, Natural Awakenings editor Linda Sechrist, Climate Reality of Lee County spokesperson Ariel Hoover and LeeRon spokesperson Joseph Bonasia are slated to moderate. Questioning will follow a traditional town hall format. Questions to be asked will be culled from public and organizational submissions. All candidates will be provided with the questions in advance so that they can be well prepared to support their positions. 

The number of questions will be decided based on the number of candidates and allotted time to answer. Questions from the audience will be limited to written submissions presented by attendees at the time of entry. Seating capacity for the event is 350 individuals. Don’t miss an important opportunity to hear from and educate the best candidates for 2020.  

Rather than treating nature as property under the law, Rights of Nature acknowledges that nature in all its life forms has “the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles.” And we – the people – have the legal authority and responsibility to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. 

The Pachamama Alliance is a global community that offers people the chance to learn, connect, engage, travel and cherish life for the purpose of creating a sustainable future that works for all.

Location: 13411 Shire Lane, Fort Myers. For more information, contact Joseph Bonasia at 631-365-1399. Submit questions for candidates to [email protected] Visit Submit questions for candidates to [email protected]

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