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Sandelli: Ready to put heart into position

August 14, 2019
By JORDAN HESTER (jhester@breezenewspapers.com) , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Raymond Sandelli now sits as the District 3 Lee County Commissioner and is excited to work and to show everyone why he's willing to put his heart into this.

"I had put in a show of interest, but I had never really considered that I would be selected, I was actually on vacation with my family and had to fly back a couple of days early to get all of the paperwork started and really wrap my head around the whole thing," Sandelli said.

The seat, formerly held by Larry Kiker, includes representation of Fort Myers Beach and Sandelli wants everyone to know he is dedicated to making it work during his tenure.

Sandelli has lived in Bonita for the better part of a decade, and the Tampa area for a short time before that.He attributes his love of the Gulf Coast to his growing up in New Jersey and Seattle. He loves being near the water.

"I grew up on the coasts, both in New Jersey and later in Seattle; I'm a water guy by nature. I love surfing, I especially love the way of life the people on the Beach have put together for themselves. There's a beauty to it you don't get in a lot of places," Sandelli said.

He's spoken to a lot of locals, including Paula Kiker, who intends to run for the seat her husband held before his death while in office, and his respect for everyone has increased tenfold.

"Everyone down here knows exactly what this community needs. Paula especially, was one of the nicest calls I've honestly ever received, professionally or not. I spent most of my life in the Navy and in commercial real estate, but never really considered public office. I take that back, one of the guys I worked with towards the end of my Navy career always told me he'd expect to see me in some political position in the future, so I guess that's a thing I'd only briefly considered until now," Sandelli said.

His time in the Navy was significant, eventually working with the Blue Angels as event coordinator, but he always cherishes the lessons he learned from his time there.

"Discipline is important, but the longer you stay in the military, the better you get at networking. It was something I treasure a lot, having gone on to manage million dollar real estate deals. It made the pressure a little easier," Sandelli said.

Lee County has a lot of changes coming up, with growth management and infrastructure being chief concerns among them, along with bringing in new business and growing the county in a smart way.

"I want my district to know that I'm going to do best by them. I'm surrounded by some of the smartest aides you could hope for, and I'm going to give this my best effort," Sandelli said.

When broached about the possibility of running for the seat after he fills the remainer of Larry Kiker's unexpired term, he sounded optimistic, but cautious.

"That's the thing on everyone's minds and I want everyone to know that I haven't exactly decided. I've been on the beat for a week and I'm still learning as much as I can as quickly as I can. If I feel like I'm doing the best I can come time for the election, and the people agree with that, I'll probably run. I'm not going to put my heart into something if I don't think I can do my best for the position," Sandelli said.

 
 

 

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