Gloria Raso Tate named to fill Cape Coral council vacancy

Gloria Raso Tate, a former Cape council member, fills the vacancy left when…

Gloria Raso Tate named to fill Cape Coral council vacancy 1
Gloria Raso Tate named to fill Cape Coral council vacancy 2

Bill Smith
 
| Fort Myers News-Press

The newest member of the Cape Coral City Council comes to the job with extensive experience as a resident, in business and as part of city governments dating back a quarter of a century.

Former council member Gloria Raso Tate was appointed by the council this week as successor to District 1 member John Gunter, who succeeded the late Joe Coviello as mayor. She was an elected council member from 1996 to 2005 and served for 11 months after being appointed to a vacancy in 2008.

“I’m going to help out and serve where I can,” Tate said in a telephone interview with The News-Press. “I put my name in because I thought  maybe I could help. That’s really the bottom line, that they would use my experience.”

A graduate of North Fort Myers High School, Tate arrived in Cape Coral from Pennsylvania as a pre-teen in 1960, when the city population was not even 300 and incorporation as a city was still a decade away.

She has been a part of the community since the formative years for both herself and the city, through the land boom, the real estate crash, the real estate recovery and the renewed growth of recent years.

More: More: Gloria Tate speaks about Cape Coral’s growth in 2016 video

More:  Hurricane Donna, in 1960, welcomed Gloria Raso Tate to Southwest Florida

More: Happy anniversary: Cape Coral turns 50 this year

Active in professional and civic organizations, Tate is chairwoman of Cape Chamber of Commerce government affairs committee but said she didn’t seek the appointment because of an interest in getting back into politics.

“I have no desire to run for any future public office,” she said. 

Tate has operated Raso Realty in Cape Coral for more than 30 years and holds a degree in education from Florida State University.

She was elected by a 6-1 vote with member Rick Williams voting for another candidate; she was immediately sworn into office with former Mayor Joe Mazurkiewicz holding the Bible.

“We’re good friends and he was in the audience,” she said. 

Council member Robert Welsh said Tate’s desire to simply fill out Gunter’s term on the council helped shape his vote. 

“I know that she has no desire to run again,”  Welsh said. “This is strictly on a fill-in basis, which will give everyone else who wants to run a nice clean slate campaigning for the seat.”

Cape council meetings are known to last well into the night, often including vigorous public comment periods that stretch to the one-hour limit set by council rules.

Still, Tate has kept her eye on the current council, watching the proceedings on TV, and thought she would make a good fit.

“I do watch every week, and it seems they have a very strong vision and they really want to move this city forward,” she said. “They are very progressive and that’s one of the reasons. If I thought they were not going to have a vision for it I don’t know if I was their person.”

Her community involvement over the years led to winning the Paulette Burton award as Lee County Citizen of the Year in 2017. Her involvement through the years includes work to establish the Cape Coral Animal Shelter, the city’s youth center and the local history museum. She is also active in Realtor association groups.

Catch the Vision: Cape Coral apartment projects abounding in 2021

After being appointed, Tate was then named to succeed Gunter on two committees with significant portfolios, the Community Redevelopment Authority and the charter school board. 

“There were the committees that needed help,” she said. “Charter schools, I was a founding board member, that’s very important to me, and my home and my business have been in the CRA for a lot of years, almost 60 years.”

Tate was elected as the council representative to the CRA on a 4-3 vote over member Robert Welsh after being nominated by Gunter.

First elected to the council in 1996, Tate was elected to two terms, which were extended as the city changed the election cycle for her council seat. 

In 2006, she was appointed to assume the final 12 months of the late Jim Jeffers’ term after his death in September, 15 months after being elected.

After a decade on the sidelines, she sees the council of 2021 nothing like the councils of years ago.

“Things are very different now than when I served before, on every level — projects, water and sewer expansion … everything is very different,” she said.

She noted a new atmosphere among council members after years in which civility was not a priority and gave much of the credit to Coviello.

“It’s a refreshing change from councils of past … there was a lot of division on council for many years I can’t say we always got along as this council has,” she said. “I thought Mayor Coviello did a great job leading us, and I think that Mayor Gunter has that same vision.”

error

Enjoy our news? Please spread the word :)