Fisher and Fanny advance in school board race | News, Sports, Jobs

Jada Langford Fleming

A race for the Lee County school board was decided Aug. 23 in the primary election, while the top voters from the three remaining races will advance to November to face off.

Challenger Armor Persons defeated incumbent Gwynetta Gittens for the District 5 seat.

Meanwhile, the following candidates have secured enough votes to secure a top spot in their race and advance to the November 8 general election: Sam Fisher and Kathy Fanny for District 1; Dan Severson and incumbent Debbie Jordan for District 4; and Jada Langford Fleming and Denise Nystrom for District 6.

Voters on the island will be able to vote in November in District 1, as well as in the general District 6 race.

District 1

Denise Nystrom

The District 1 primary was decided by voters who live in the district, which includes Sanibel, Captiva and Pine Island/Matlacha as well as parts of Cape Coral and North Fort Myers.

Fisher came first with 43.82% or 12,169 votes, followed by Fanny with 24.83% or 6,896 votes. Third went to Christine DeVigili with 16.32% or 4,531 votes, and Cathy Stout came fourth with 15.03% or 4,175 votes.

“I am delighted with the support of voters to move on in November,” Fisher said, adding that he ran for students and with the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis, he will empower parents to put kids first.

He thanked voters, his family and friends, the campaign team and the challengers.

“They are very good people. They had a good race. said Fisher. “I was honored to run alongside them.”

Fanny shared that she is “very happy” with the election results.

“Because politics has nothing to do with the school board”, she says. “We have to do what is best for students and teachers. Our schools deserve so much more than what they are getting from this election.

Fanny expressed her support for the current school board.

“The right of one parent cannot prevail over the rights of the other parents” she says. “We are a public school. It’s our job to meet everyone’s needs and that’s who I am.

Fanny thanked her supporters.

“I came in like a total stranger and people listened to me and believed in me and I can’t thank them enough.” she says. “It’s my passion and I’m here for the kids, the teachers, and the community, and I’m working together to make our school district better.”

DeVigili extended his congratulations to Fisher and Fanny.

“I look forward to an exciting general election,” she says. “Let’s hope we elect the right person who will be able to make the changes needed for the children of Lee County.”

DeVigili thanked those who gave him their support.

“We fought a good right” she says. “And although we did not emerge victorious, this is not the end. I can promise you that.”

Stout shared that she was not disappointed with her loss.

“I think it’s another chapter for me. I’m not leaving. I think we have to work as a team,” she said, noting that she has been in communication with the other contestants and hopes to collaborate.

“I’m not happy, I’m not happy. But I wish I could meet our great governor,” Stout added. “I think it would have been a little different if he had heard from all the candidates.”

She called him a “great journey.”

“I’ve met amazing families and kids, and that’s who I’ve always been,” Stout said.

She thanked her supporters and family

“I also want to thank my husband for taking out all my signs. He was my rock. And my children, of course,” Stout said, adding his appreciation for his campaign strategist’s hard work.

District 6

District 6 is a universal seat, meaning all voters in Lee County could vote.

Fleming came first with 38.97% or 44,985 votes, followed by Nystrom with 35.92% or 41,464 votes. Third went to Tia Collin with 25.10% or 28,972 votes.

“I feel good,” Fleming said, calling the support turnout for her an indicator that she won the trust of Lee County voters in the primary. “I am speechless at the amount of support that has surrounded me throughout this campaign.”

She said she will keep pushing forward and working hard until November.

“I worked very hard on this campaign when I entered the race,” Fleming said, noting that she will continue to meet with community members. “Because their concerns are what matters to me.”

She expressed her gratitude to her supporters.

“So many volunteers, so many people who donated to the campaign and donated to the cause,” Fleming said, adding that they support her in prioritizing local children in education.

“I’m just actually totally excited,” Nystrom said, adding that she had received positive feedback about her campaign in recent weeks. “So it’s good to know that I’m going to the general election.”

She and her team will meet to strategize in the coming days.

“I worked very, very hard and that’s what I will continue to do,” said Nystrom.

She described her ability to connect with people as one of her greatest assets.

“At the end of the day, it’s really about letting people know who you are and what you do,” said Nystrom. “I got into this race for all the right reasons. I think I can use my knowledge to do great things for Lee County students.

Collin described running for office as “quite an experience.”

“I am proud of the campaign I led. I am very grateful to everyone who voted for me, believed in me and supported my campaign,” she says. “I’m excited to see the great things the new school board will do.”

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