The voting was fast and furious earlier this year when island residents made their way to the polls to cast their ballots for the new governor of Pine Island. Taking the race was Matlacha mayor, Deb Cole, who ran her successful bid out of Bert’s Bar and Grill in Matlacha. While a degree of controversy arose as a result of the vote, after a great deal of consideration, the Pine Island Lions Club officially declared Cole as the winner.
“An incredible amount of credit for my win goes to the generosity of all of the people who donated to my campaign, especially Bernard Johnson from Bert’s. It is astounding how such a small establishment like Bert’s can raise so much money in just a few hours, ” Cole said. “I also I have to give a great deal of thanks to my campaign manager, Darlene Phanco Snyder. She is a real skinny, little bulldog who knows how to get things done.”
When the votes were tallied, Cole’s competition, Ethel Gilbert, mayor of St. James City, provided to be a real challenge as the race was a close one.
“I am very proud to have been able to raise over $8,000 for the Lions Club. They have done so much good for so many people for nearly a century, not only here on the island, but all over the world,” said Cole.
Cole’s team of supporters helped to earn her victory with an afternoon of live music at Bert’s Bar and Grill where voters could cast their votes in the form of $.25 drafts as well as several auctions and raffles.
“Both candidates ran a very good race, in fact, this year was a lot better than some of the other years with regard to fund raising, especially considering that we only had two candidates,” said Lions president, Mary Von Burg. “We can’t thank the candidates enough for their enthusiasm and the polling places for their continued support of the Lions Club.”
Cole ran her campaign on the “green” ticket which proved to be very popular among her voters.
“I think everyone feels that the environment here in Matlacha and on Pine Island is of great importance and they proved that on election day,” Cole said. “It is my hope to help keep Greater Pine Island a safe, healthy and clean place to live, work and play for both residents and visitors.”
The Greater Pine Island Lions Club has been assisting residents of the island in many ways for several decades. In addition to providing glasses, eye exams, hearing aids and hearing exams for those who cannot afford them, the Lions have contributed greatly to other individuals and organizations on the island with money they raise during the mock govenor’s and mayor’s races. Among those who benefit from the hard work done by the Lions are college-bound island students who are awarded scholarships from the Lions. Other recipients who receive financial assistance from the Lions include, FISH, Beacon of HOPE, Pine Island Little League, Calusa Land Trust, the Pine Island Food Pantry and more.
The Greater Pine Island Lions Club meets from October until May on the fourth Monday of the month beginning at 7 p.m. at the Fishers of Men Lutheran Church in St. James City. For more information about the Lions Club, call Lions president Mary Von Burg at 283-9761.
Governor Deb Cole met with her supporters to thank them for a
successful campaign during the semi-annual Governor’s Ball held at the St. James City Civic Association. More pictures of the
governor’s ball at pineisland-eagle.com