Updated Jul. 20, 2022, 9:07 PM
In this post, I share what I learned about the candidates running in the August 23 primary election to represent District 2 on the Collier Board of County Commissioners: Reg Buxton, Chris Hall, Gerald Lefebvre, and Nancy Lewis.
Only registered Republicans living in District 2 may vote in this closed primary election. Find your district here. The candidate who receives the majority of the votes cast will face Democrat Bebe Kanter in the general election in November.
If you are not yet registered to vote or want to change your party affiliation, the last day to do so is July 25. Click here.
To Get Started
There is a great deal of information about the candidates in this post. For each, I summarize their education, work experience, community engagement, campaign platform, and campaign contributions. I also provide links to the many online sites where you can learn more.
So I recommend that you get started by taking a few minutes to “meet” each of the candidates by watching these brief video clips. I think they will definitely help put the text-based material into perspective.
- Reg Buxton: On Growth (2:18)
- Chris Hall: Who Is Chris Hall (2:15)
- Gerald Lefebvre: For Collier County District 2 Commissioner (0:30); Responsible Growth (0:15)
- Nancy Lewis: Meet Nancy Lewis (2:12)
I asked each of the candidates to respond to nine questions about themselves, their priorities and their proposed solutions to Collier County’s environment, infrastructure, growth and development, and affordable housing challenges. Here is a summary of the candidates’ responses:
Read each candidate’s complete response through links provided below.
The candidates participated in a May 3, 2022, candidate forum hosted by Collier Citizens Council, Greater Naples Leadership, Naples Better Government, and League of Women Voters of Collier County. Watch the recording or read the transcript below:
Buxton, 76, attended community college, then worked in marketing, consulting, and documentary film-making. He moved to Southwest Florida from Kansas City, MO, in 1990 and, has been the publisher of Life in Naples magazine since 2013. He and his wife Sandra Lee have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Buxton currently serves on the board of the Republican Mens Club of Collier County and as a Commissioner on the North Collier Fire and Rescue District Board. He previously served on the City of Naples Planning Advisory Board (2014-2016), and on the Naples City Council (2016-2020).
Buxton is a graduate of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Leadership Collier (2002) and Leadership Institute (2005) programs, and Greater Naples Leadership (2012). He has served on over 19 boards, including American Red Cross Collier/Lee, Baby Basics of Collier County, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, David Lawrence Center Foundation, Fun Time Early Childhood Academy, Hodges University, Naples Art Association / Von Liebig Art Center, and Naples Zoo.
Buxton’s platform positions are outlined on his website:
- Public Safety — Provide the equipment, training, and leadership needed to maintain high-quality service to the community, balanced with sensible spending.
- Quality of Life — Balance opportunities provided by growth with preserving the character and integrity of the county and its neighborhoods.
- Economic Development — Implementing sensible growth and redevelopment while also supporting the local business community.
- Natural Resources — Protect our water, land, and wildlife over the short- and long- term, in a financially reasonable way, to produce the longest lasting effects.
- Affordable Housing — Collaborate with public/private businesses and investors to find a solution.
Asked at the Candidate Forum, “Would you take campaign contributions from special interest groups, such as developers?”, Buxton said, “I have taken some money from developers, and I may take more money from developers. I will take money if people wish to give it to me, and if it’s legal money. Someone has to be able to work with developers. If we don’t work with them and let them get involved, what happens? The public has the final word. But if we don’t work with them, then what happens in the county is there’s no organization, there’s no set plans, things just go anywhere and do anything…. Look at me when I worked at the City. I did the same thing, and I was not beholden to any developer that there was.“ (Forum at 00:39:05)
Buxton has been endorsed by North Collier Professional Firefighters & Paramedics, Collier County Medical Society Political Action Committee (PAC), former Collier County Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Von Rinteln, and Naples local Dave Trecker (website).
- Website — Elect Reg Buxton
- Facebook — Elect Reg Buxton
- Twitter — @ElectRegBuxton
- YouTube — Elect Reg Buxton
- LinkedIn – Reg Buxton
- Voter Focus Candidate Statement
Hall, 60, earned a B.S. degree in Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M University, and worked in electrical wholesale and network marketing before turning to real estate investing in 2000. After selling their business, Dunamis Rental Properties, in Brownwood, TX, he and his wife Dot moved to Collier County in 2018. They have two children and seven grandchildren.
Hall survived a 2013 plane crash in rural Texas that became a life-changing opportunity. “Because of the miracle,” he says on his website, “I knew I had a purpose and a destiny that wasn’t fulfilled yet.” He is a Life Languages International Certified Coach and served as a trainer and minister with Restoring The Foundations Ministry for six years. He is now a member of Grow Church.
Hall wants to “Make and Keep Collier Free” and “Protect and Secure Your Liberties.” His website does not have a Platform or Issues page.
Asked at the Candidate Forum, “Would you take campaign contributions from special interest groups, such as developers?”, Hall said, “You know, the Bible says this: The love of money is the root of all evil. Money itself is amoral. It’s neither good nor bad. Anyone that wants to give to my campaign with bad motives, thinking that they can get me to do them favors, is badly mistaken. Would I accept a $1,000 donation from them? Absolutely. I’ll buy signs. I’ll buy mailers …. I can’t be bought, and I can’t be bullied.” (Forum at 00:40:34)
Hall has been endorsed by Conservative Christians of SWFL, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, Florida’s Conservative Voice, SWFL Christian Activists, Republican National Forum, Christian Conservative Coalition, FLCAction, Organization Christian Family Coalition, Alfie Oakes, and DC Draino (via Campaign Email, 7/14/22)
- Website — chrishallnaples.com
- Facebook — Chris Hall Naples
- Facebook Videos — Chris Hall Naples/videos
- Voter Focus Candidate Statement
In the news:
- Collier Commission candidate Chris Hall’s comments on schools, sexuality draw critics, Naples Daily News, 6/9/22; video clip
Lefebvre, 54, studied Criminal Justice the University of New Haven for two years, served as a police officer, then completed his studies at the University of Connecticut. After moving to Collier County in 2001, he went into real estate, becoming a broker in 2005 and, four years later, opening his own company, Gulfline Realty. He has worked at John R. Wood Properties since 2015. He and his wife Susan have two young children who attend Collier County public schools.
Lefebvre served on the Collier County Code Enforcement Board from 2002 until 2022, including as chair for two years and vice-chair for over 10 years. In addition, he has served as an elder in his church and on the Naples Area Board of Realtors. In 2007, he ran unsuccessfully to fill a vacant seat in the Florida House.
Lefebvre’s platform positions are outlined on his website:
- Mental Health — Identify areas within the mental health system that need additional resources to better serve our community.
- Personal Protection — Ensure that sheriff budgets are funded to provide a safe environment for residents and visitors of Collier County.
- Growth — Have smart development, the right project in the right place and not one size fits all.
- Water Quality — Bring all the stakeholders together and put programs in place to fix our water quality issues.
Asked at the Candidate Forum, “Would you take campaign contributions from special interest groups, such as developers?”, Lefebvre said, “I have not, and I am proud of that. I have taken money from family and friends. And I also put in $3,000 of my own money. I am not saying that I won’t, but that would not influence my decisions. And I cannot be bought.” (Forum at 00:37:15)
- Website — voteforgerald.com
- Facebook — Gerald J. Lefebvre
- Instagram — geraldfordistrict2
- YouTube — Gerald Lefebvre
- LinkedIn – Gerald J. Lefebvre
- Voter Focus Candidate Statement
In the news:
- Gulfline Realty — keeping pace with changing market, Naples Daily News, 11/18/09
Lefebvre has been endorsed by Naples Better Government.
Lewis, 66, entered the business world in New Jersey after high school. Beginning in computer sales, she ultimately became the owner-operator of Compu-Byte Inc., a value-added reseller. She moved to Naples in 1991, sold her business in 1993, and went into real estate in 1996.
Now a realtor with Premier Plus Realty, she also works as Administrator for the Pelican Bay Property Owners Association
Lewis’s volunteer activities include serving as President and Director of Naples Retirement Inc. (a non-profit corporation, the land developer/ lessor for ProMedica Senior Living, formerly Lely Palms Retirement Community). She also serves on the board of the Pelican Bay Mangrove Action Group, and as Treasurer of her homeowners’ association. Previously, she served on the leadership team for Save Vanderbilt Beach, a 501(c)(4) organization formed to oppose the development of One Naples. She is also a mentor and team member of Grow Church and, since January 2022, a Collier County Republican Executive Committee committeewoman.
Lewis wants to be the people’s representative for promoting sensible development in Collier County while preserving its natural resources and high quality of life. Her website does not have an Issues or Platform page.
Asked at the Candidate Forum, “Would you take campaign contributions from special interest groups, such as developers?”, Lewis said, “Absolutely not. I have not accepted, and I will not be beholden to, any special interest group simply because we’ve got a lot of major decisions that are coming up. And I don’t want anyone to be in that position. So, no, the answer is absolutely not.” (Candidate Forum, 00:38:00)
- Website — nancylewislistens.com
- Facebook — Nancy Lewis for Commissioner
- YouTube — Nancy Lewis for Collier County Commission 2022
- LinkedIn – Nancy Lewis Listens
- Voter Focus Candidate Statement
Lewis has been endorsed by Donna Wagner, Immediate Past President of the Women’s Republican Club Naples; Buzz Victor, President — Save Vanderbilt Beach; Linda S. Penniman — Former member and Vice Mayor-City of Naples; and more. (website)
Here are the monetary contributions and expenditures reported by each candidate according to their most recent campaign treasurer’s reports:
I reviewed all the campaign contribution reports online on Jul. 18, 2022. Of interest:
Buxton received 84 monetary contributions: 47 from individuals, 33 from businesses, three from PACs (Marine Industries PAC, Collier County Medical Society PAC, and North Naples Fire PAC), and made a personal loan to the campaign of $100. A total of 58 contributions were for the maximum amount of $1,000.
Of the business contributions, the occupations of five were “investment,” five were “real estate,” four were “developer,” three were “attorney” with the firm Coleman Yovanovich Koester, and two were “construction” or “builder.”
Hall received 177 monetary contributions: 163 from individuals, 10 from businesses, one from the Marine Industries PAC, and three loans from himself totaling $29,346. A total of 33 contributions were for the maximum amount of $1,000.
Of the individual contributions, the occupations of 25 were “business owner,” 19 were “real estate,” eight were “finance” or “financial services,” three were “builder,” three were “insurance,” one was “restaurant owner,” one was “investor,” and one was “attorney.” The attorney was Kristina Heuser, who helped write the proposed “Bill of Rights sanctuary county” ordinance rejected by the county last year.
Lefebvre received 23 monetary contributions: 16 from individuals, six from businesses, and one from the Marine Industries PAC. A total of three contributions were for the maximum amount of $1,000.
The occupations of six of the individual and four of the business contributions were “real estate” or “realtor.” Lefebvre loaned the campaign $3,000.
Lewis received 203 monetary contributions, all from individuals. Of those, 48 were for the maximum of amount of $1,000.
The occupations of fourteen contributors were CEOs, executives or self-employed; 11 were in finance; eight were in real estate; six were attorneys. Two who listed their occupations as “goddess” contributed a total of $151.
Each of the four candidates has different reasons for running and a different base of supporters. Each has different values, skills, abilities, work and life experience, and views of the role of government.
Don’t hesitate to contact any of the candidates directly through their websites if you have any questions.
If you need any information about the election itself, visit the Collier County Supervisor of Elections website or call 239-252-8683.