Q. How are you governed?
A. Day-to-day decisions are made by a small Steering Committee assisted by a Brain Trust comprised of some of the most successful and influential women in Lee County.
Q. Why are you women-only? Don’t men have a role to play in elections?
A. We are not running against men. We are promoting women because of the qualities they bring to policy-making – transparency and accountability, collaboration, and responsiveness and receptivity to citizens’ needs. We want all levels of county governance to reflect our community, including the Lee Board of County Commissioners, which is currently all-male.
Q. How can I join? What is required of me as a member? Do you charge dues?
A. We encourage those who want to follow us to sign up by going to WFBL2022@gmail.com and asking to be added to our roll. We do not levy dues, though we encourage everyone to donate to our WFBLPAC that will collectively finance the campaigns of local women candidates. Supporters are invited to events prior to the public being notified. We also urge supporters to follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/womenforabetterlee .
Q. How can I donate to the PAC?
A. Checks can be made out to: WFBLPAC and mailed to WFBLPAC, 14320 Harbour Links Ct., Unit C, Fort Myers, FL 33908. Donations via PayPal (http://paypal.com; our PayPal account is WFBLPAC@gmail.com) are also accepted.
Q. Why do we need women in office anyway? What do they bring that men do not?
A. Women invest their minds and hearts in laying the groundwork for a future in which their children and grandchildren may experience a high quality of life, living in a clean, healthy world. As family and community members, they want to see public investment in those things that contribute to positive economic, social, and political outcomes for all members of society. They are strategic thinkers, critical thinkers, problem solvers, and team players who focus on the ‘long game’ for future generations. We strongly believe that adding women especially to our Board of County Commissioners will make it a more balanced, visionary and family-oriented decision-making body.
Q. You say that you are nonpartisan. What does that mean?
A. WFBL does not favor one party over the other. We are independent thinkers who judge potential candidates not on their party affiliation but instead on their commitment and passion for the issues WFBL promotes: environmental stewardship, accountability and transparency, and improving our quality of life.
Q. Will you support a Democrat or a Republican?
A. The issues we are promoting are nonpartisan and do not reflect any party platform. Democrats and Republicans alike are stuck in traffic created by sprawl. We are looking for candidates who will address our issues with an open mind, a fresh vision and creative thinking, be they Democrat or Republican. In fact, we can envision endorsing candidates of different parties during the same election cycle.
Q. Should you not have a woman candidate for one of the County Commission seats, will you support a male candidate?
A. In 2020, we endorsed Republican Nick Batos for a seat on the Board of County Commissioners. We will be encouraging women to step forward as candidates. As a community, we are lucky to have many intelligent, successful and knowledgeable women who are prepared to lead. That being said, should we not have a woman candidate for a particular office, we have the option to work for a male candidate.
Q. You talk about “responsible development.” Won’t slowing development hurt all those who make their living from the ripple effects of development?
A. Our agenda focuses on quality of life issues negatively impacted by out-of-control development. We are not against developers; we are against those officials who are the enablers and have allowed overdevelopment and sprawl. We all lose — realtors, workers, bankers, small businesses — when our county is so gridlocked that people cannot get around to shop and play — or when large companies do not want to move here because their workers will not relocate to a county with crowded schools or a doctor shortage, or when polluted waterways cause newcomers to shy away from purchasing homes on the water. New residents may increase our tax base, but our low impact fees on developers do not pay for the infrastructure — roads and schools – required to accommodate increased population. Many jurisdictions require developers to contribute community amenities in return for permission to build. We need to require this from developers in Lee County.
Q. How will you ensure that your candidates, should they be elected, will follow through on their promises?
A. By the 2022 election, we will have put in place a network of interested and engaged voters who we will encourage to make themselves heard to our elected officials on the issues. Post-election, we will be following our elected candidates and will not hesitate to call them out should we have to.
Q. How will you choose the candidates you will support?
A. As in political campaigns, we will develop a questionnaire and interview possible candidates before supporting them.
Q. Will you fund candidate campaigns?
A. We are formally structured as a political action committee to help raise money for women candidates in general. Our goal is to use the funds raised in support of women candidates and achieve economies of scale in promoting their candidacies. That said, the WFBLPAC is not authorized by any candidates or any candidate’s committee and donations are not tax deductible.
Q. What are your privacy protections?
A. We promise never to share personal information with any outside group without explicit permission. Furthermore, members can choose to be listed on our Brain Trust or not yet still participate.