As many of you know, Lee Future has taken a lower profile in its activism to improve the quality of life for Lee County residents. But there are other groups who are continuing the push to bring better leadership and more effective policies to Lee County Government. One of them is Women For a Better Lee (WFBL).
From the beginning, Lee Future and WFBL have shared the same principles and goals — county government that is transparent and accountable, that welcomes community involvement and promotes responsible environmental stewardship that enhances our quality of life. Reaching these goals requires electing visionary leaders to our Board of County Commissioners (BoCC).
Since its founding in 2018, Women For a Better Lee has grown into an influential watchdog in Lee County:
• By highlighting the lack of diversity on our BoCC, WFBL has successfully highlighted the need for women speaking up for people-focused policies.
• Its commentaries and communications have attracted members from every corner of the county and stimulated discussion of important county issues.
• After endorsing its first candidates in 2020 — Nick Batos, Connie Bennett-Martin, and Jessica Cosden — WFBL actively participated in their election campaigns during the pandemic through postcarding, phonebanking, and sign-waving.
• Its commitment to educating and empowering Lee County voters has resulted in many residents communicating with their county commissioners for the very first time.
• As a watchdog group, WFBL was successful in getting the county to recognize the need for transparency in disbursing CARES Act funds.
• It successfully advocated for CARES Act funds to help parents afford vital childcare during the pandemic.
• In cooperation with Lee Future, WFBL in 2019 sponsored a popular community forum on critical issues facing our county that attracted 140-plus people. Since then, WFBL has hosted roundtable conversations with former women candidates about the opportunities and obstacles they faced in running for office in Lee. It is anticipated that these public events will resume once the pandemic is over.
Women For a Better Lee is a grassroots, all-volunteer membership organization that charges no dues. Support for the group consists of submitting your email and receiving updates and commentaries on issues relevant to their goals — and, hopefully, sharing its messages with others. (FYI, WFBL has established a political action committee that is raising funds to support women candidates in the county. But the WFBLPAC is not authorized by any candidate or any candidate’s committee, and donations are not tax deductible.)
You can join WFBL by emailing WFBL2022@gmail.com and follow the group on Facebook: www.facebook.com/womenforabetterlee.
The fight for good, honest government is never-ending. Women For a Better Lee will be advancing our shared principles and ideals with the passion and commitment required to achieve our shared goals, hopefully with your continued support.
Don Eslick is a past chairman of the board of the Estero Council of Community Leaders.