Cape Coral mayor’s race: John Gunter, Thomas Shadrach vying for job
The city of Cape Coral is set to elect its first new mayor since the unexpected death of Joe Coviello in January 2021.
Both current Mayor John Gunter, 59, and Thomas Shadrach, 63, are vying for the position, offering two different approaches to running the city. Voters will get their say on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Both candidates are looking to manage the ever-growing city of Cape Coral, which currently has a population of more than 200,000, according to the U.S. Census.
Gunter, previously the District 1 council member elected in 2017, was appointed mayor in a 6-1 vote by the city council to finish out Coviello’s term, which expires in November 2022.
District 1 election: Four ‘first-timers’ making run for seat
District 4 election:Incumbent Jennifer Nelson facing two challengers
District 6 election: Incumbent Keith Long facing newcomer Wayne Hecht
Shadrach is running for public office for the first time. He has worked 37 years for the Boeing Company and its military defense division where he managed 500 people and a budget of $1.5 billion.
“I want to bring in a culture of no excuses and accountability, hold people accountable to schedules and costs,” Shadrach said.
Shadrach is looking to lower property taxes, stop wasteful spending, and get projects like the Yacht Club and other city parks done.
“I don’t like wasteful spending. They have plenty of reserves, and I’d rather have my reserves in my pocket than the city,” Shadrach said.
Gunter, who is also the president of Gulf Coast Premier Homes, said he’s looking to facilitate smart growth and public safety and maintain the quality of life for residents.
“When we look at things in our city, we’re one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. We’re the fourth fastest-growing city in the country. We have to make sure that we have smart growth,” Gunter said.
Both mayor and councilmembers serve four-year terms and can serve for no more than two consecutive four-year terms. Cape Coral city elections are nonpartisan.
Tom Shadrach runs for Cape mayor
Shadrach, a four-year resident, said he’s tired of projects like the Yacht Club renovations and the Parks and Recreation General Obligation (GO) Bond projects not being done and going over budget.
“They like to blame the pandemic and don’t get me wrong, the pandemic did cause a problem, but it shouldn’t have caused years of problems,” Shadrach said.
He describes himself as a “fixer” and wants to see money go to other city services like police, fire, and sidewalks.
“All those things are the priority of a city government to do. Quality of life things like parks and other things come after,” Shadrach said.
Shadrach said a solution to the current problem is possibly deleting many of the parks that don’t have a start date attached to them and finishing them later as a way to hold to the original $60 million price tag.
“Yes, it will be a negative issue. I’m not saying we’re not gonna get them done. But we’ve got to regroup, find the money and get them done properly and tell the truth to the public,” Shadrach said.
He said this method will allow for more transparency about costs and hold city council members accountable for the new schedule.
He also wants to increase commercial development in the city by making the permit process easier and faster, he said.
“We got to get get rid of red tape,” Shadrach said.
He’s interested in bringing technology and health care businesses to Cape Coral.
“‘I’m only doing this to help myself as a citizen and the other citizens. I have no other agenda. I have no political ambition. I want to get this city straight,” Shadrach said.
Click Here to read the full article.
Luis Zambrano is a Watchdog/Cape Coral reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. You can reach Luis at Lzambrano@gannett.com or 239-266-5604. Follow him on Twitter @Lz2official.