Last Friday evening, newly appointed Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman spoke with the Lee County Patriots at the Community Center in Matlacha.
Hamman was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to fill the seat of ex-Commissioner Tammy Hall following her resignation in September.
Hamman of Cape Coral and former manager of market development at CenturyLink was sworn in Oct. 29. Because he was appointed to fill a vacant seat, his term will end Nov. 25, 2014.
Hamman arrived at the Community Center with his campaign literature in hand. "A Fresh Perspective for Lee County" was the banner. The flyer promised job growth and economic expansion, lower taxes, tighter controls on government spending and honest, open and accountable government.
"Brian has another engagement," Lee County Patriot Kathy Jones said. "So we're going to give him the floor and then he'll take a few questions."
"I am here to introduce myself, I am Brian Hamman and I am your new Fourth District Commissioner and I'm also running for the seat in November 2014.
Hamman was born and raised in Cape Coral and went to Cape High, Edison State College and Florida Gulf Coast University.
"When the governor appointed me, he made it very clear that he sees Lee County as the economic engine for Southwest Florida, and I couldn't agree with him more," Hamman said. "Every morning when I kick off the covers I think about the number 40,000. That's how many Lee County residents can't find jobs. Helping Lee County residents find work is the main focus of what I want to do as commissioner.
He continued by saying, "What we have in Lee County is worth protecting. And we do that by keeping our taxes low, creating an environment that fosters job growth, by protecting the beautiful environment and the wonderful natural resources that we have here. So what I have to offer as county commissioner is a fresh perspective, one that puts you guys, the people who pay the taxes, first. I believe we should have a commissioner that asks, 'Why have we always done it this way?' and then look for new ways to do things. I believe we should have a government that offers greater accountability and openness.
"I think it's time we ask a few basic questions," Hamman said. "Should the government be involved in private enterprise. Too many politicians forget that we are a nation of small businesses and the last thing we need is for small business to compete against the government they pay taxes to. Another question is should we support budgets that spend more money than we take in? I don't believe we should. So let's start and lead by example right here at home."
There was a very brief question-and-answer session before Hamman left for his next meeting.
Q. "I heard you say that you wouldn't spend more than the county takes in. The question I have is what about spending less say 10 or 20 percent less."
A. "I understand your question and I agree. The county needs to spend less."
Q. "The people of Pine Island and Matlacha are concerned that the Pine Island Plan will stay in place and protect the islands against over development," Ed Franks, Editor of the Pine Island Eagle said. "What is your position on the Pine Island Plan?"
A. "I'd rather hold my opinion for now. I'm definitely for balance we have to protect the rights of property owners."
Q. "Our area depends on the fishing, boating and beaches, Kathy Jones said. The quality of the water is getting worse every day. Where do you stand on the Ceitus Barrier?"
A. "I spoke with Roland Ottolini, our Natural Resources Director, the other day and he tells me there is a study going on right now and we're waiting for the results. I want to see the results of that study so we can come up with some options how to deal with the Ceitus Barrier."
"The Ceitus Barrier has been down for many years," Kathy Jones said. "I suggest you speak with the charter captains here and ask them about what's happening with the waters surrounding these islands. They could give you a better picture of what's happening here. Otherwise a lot of people will be losing their jobs."
Hamman left for his next meeting and the meeting was concluded.
For additional information about future meetings check online at: LeeCountyPatriots.com