Lehigh Acres, as of the 2010 census had over 86,000 residence. That was an increase of over 50% since the 2000 census. This is a substantial number of people in the county. So why is it that it appears to be the forgotten land when it comes to representation in government? Three factors play a major role; voter district mapping, at large voting and incorporation.
Lehigh Acres is located in State Senate District 23, a Senate District which represents not just Lehigh Acres, but Bonita Springs, Naples and Marco Island. Compare Lehigh Acres to those cities. They are different in several ways, it would be impossible to list them all. Bonita Springs, Naples, and Marco Island, they are all very similar, and very closely located to each other. So they are obviously represented by their Senator.
At-Large voting is practiced in Lee County for County Commissioner seats. This means that regardless of the district a candidate is running for, all voters of Lee County vote for your districts representative. In 2012, the voters of District 5 (Lehigh Acres, Alva, Buckingham and North Fort Myers) for County Commissioner overwhelmingly voted for me over the incumbent. However, I am not your County Commissioner. Why? The further away from District 5 the voters resided, the fewer the votes I received. How did this provide the people of this area with unbiased representation? It didn't. The people of Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Estero, etc. got an additional representative to affect their interests. Once again, Lehigh Acres goes unnoticed, with a County Commissioner whose job is supposed to be to represent them, but instead ignores them.
Back in 1996, a referendum made it on the ballot to incorporate Lehigh Acres. It failed. Incorporation would have provided local representation for Lehigh Acres in the form of a Mayor and Council. Since this is not the case, your remaining elected officials (State Senator, State Representative and County Commissioner) become exponentially more important to this districts interest. I am, again, wishing to represent the interests of the people in this district, and now, as their State Representative. This time, the People of this District will not have their choice diluted by interests outside of their District. Your vote counts.
Paid For By Matt Miller, Republican, For State Representative, District 79.