There are seven candidates vying for the House of Representatives seat vacated by Trey Radel in January - one Democrat, April Freeman; two independents, Timothy Rossano and Ray Netherwood; and four Republicans, State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, Paige Kreegel, Curt Clawson and Michael Dreikorn. Dreikorn is the only candidate from Pine Island.
Florida's 19th Congressional District was a Democrat Party stronghold since redistricting took place in 1983. For 30 years the seat was held by Democrats: Dante Fascell (1983-1993), Harry Johnston (1993-1997), Robert Wexler (1997-2010) and Ted Deutch (2010-1013). In 2012 once again the district underwent redistricting and in the 2012 election Republican Trey Radel received 62 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat Jim Roach.
Less than a year after being sworn in as the 19th District's Republican Congress-man, Radel was arrested in Washington, D.C., for purchasing cocaine from an undercover officer. A month later, Radel pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of possessing cocaine and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation. On Jan. 3, 2014, Radel resigned. On Jan. 31, Gov. Rick Scott announced that a special primary election would be held on April 22. The winner of the Republican primary will face Freeman, Rossano and Netherwood in the General Election on June 24.
Dreikorn has been a Pine Island resident for 10 years. He describes himself as a fiscal conservative Republican who believes in "a right-sized, non-intrusive, efficient and capable government that is trustworthy."
Dreikorn grew up in California. In 1980, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was trained in helicopter mechanics and quality control. While in the military he started a family and pursued a bachelors degree of science in professional aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In 1987, Dreikorn left the service to work for defense contractors Northrop and McDonnell Douglas. In 1995 he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as assistant division manager while earning his doctorate of education at George Washington University. In 2002, Dreikorn formed his own company, IPL Group, LLC, a consulting engineering, auditing and training firm.
"I am running to represent the people of Southwest Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives because I am deeply concerned about the direction this great nation is headed and I have no confidence in the leadership of either major political party," Dreikorn said. "Bad things happen when good people fail to take action. Recognizing that our culture, economy and military might has been greatly compromised, I am compelled to take action, not as a politician, but as a citizen that believes in the principles of our founding fathers, as documented in the Constitution. I aim to commit my all in serving this nation, break the paralysis caused by cronyism, and then return to pass the torch to the next citizen leader.
"I am also greatly concerned about the absence of honor, honesty, and integrity in government," he continued. "The system that is managed by career politicians serves only the interest of the political enterprise, and not the people. As a citizen with skin in the game, I have no interest to serve the establishment. My objective is to lead efforts that will bring our nation back in line with the Constitution and back to the basics.
"My number one issue is to fight hard for term limits so we can get the system working again. These elected positions need to be filled with citizens not elected career politicians," Dreikorn said. "I've been self employed for almost 12 years now. I understand the difference between signing the front of a check and the back of a check. As a businessman you have to not only make this payroll but ensure you can meet payrolls in the future. My business experience is what defines me as a candidate."
For additional information, visit:: www.dreikornforcongress.com