If someone were to set out the ideal qualifications for county commissioner, it would likely contain the type of communication, leadership and management skills that Karen possesses. She ran a nonprofit for nearly 10 years, managing programs, employees and a budget, taught in the Lee County schools for 22 years, and interacts regularly with a variety of people and organizations as a medical social worker at Lee Health. She knows how to communicate effectively with a governing board, as well as the general public. She has experience dealing with governmental regulations, grants and creating a vision to meet the needs of those she is serving.
While Karen has considerable skills and experience, it is her community connection that is most compelling. A lifelong Fort Myers resident, Karen’s background includes jobs and experiences that ensure she stays in touch with the needs of the people. Her volunteer efforts are impressive. She does not sit on inactive boards just to add it to her resume. She has helped create programs that provide for people that are often overlooked, including young single moms and girls in underserved areas. Of special note is her role in co-founding Impact Dunbar, an innovative program through Collaboratory to mentor and guide women and children in Dunbar.
Karen Watson is an energetic, community-oriented woman with excellent credentials. She is familiar with the problems of the community, and the strengths of the people she will represent. She sees the need for, and can provide the long-term planning Lee County needs. She can work with all stakeholders to create a vision that allows for growth, but takes into account resources as well as the needs of the people.
“The County Commission doesn’t look like our county,” said Karen Watson, setting out one of the reasons she decided to run for county commissioner. It is true. Just over half the county is women and a third is Black or brown, yet the Board is composed entirely of white men. Karen has a record of stepping up to where she is needed. Her willingness to challenge the status quo in Lee County is admirable and to be celebrated.