Five people are hoping to fill the Lee County Commission District 5 seat that is now empty following the death of Frank Mann.
Former baseball star Mike Greenwell is one of those people.
Greenwell, who owns and runs a farm in Lee County and was once a left-fielder for the Boston Red Sox, filed papers to run Tuesday afternoon. He spoke to WINK News about why he decided to run and his plans if he wins.
“Lived pretty much my whole life here, and living out there in District 5, I’ve watched the growth and I’ve watched how much we’re expanding, and I just felt like it’d mean a lot to me because I think I have a voice people would listen to,” Greenwell said. “I felt like it was my time to serve and jump in and hopefully help our community out there.”
All of the candidates for the open commissioners’ seat pointed to one issue as a priority: growth.
“Listen to those people and see if we can make some changes well make the growth better and smarter. Just be involved and try to be their voice,” said Greenwell.
Doctor Joseph Gambino is a chiropractor and member of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce. Gambino is also a Republican candidate for the District 5 seat.
“I want to keep Lee County free. I want to keep the taxes low and increase, increase community engagement and community outreach,” said Gambino.
Matthew Wood is the only Democrat in the running. He owns a power washing company.
“I’m just a regular guy, small business owner, blue-collar. I just, I want to make our community a good, a good place for our kids and our businesses,” said Wood.
These three candidates all say handling the population explosion is critical.
“I just feel like Lehigh gets really overlooked. Especially with all the people that are here that are working-class like me,” said Wood.
“I just want everyone to know that I moved out here 32 years ago I thought I was living on the edge of town and that town is now exploding,” said Greenwell.
“We have a lot of people coming into the county moving into the county, that’s a great thing. I think it’s wonderful. And we just have to meet those demands,” said Gambino.
Republican John Albion is a former Lee County Commissioner who served from 1992 to 2006. He left office and Mann succeeded him and Albion thinks his past experience makes him the right candidate to serve Mann’s remaining two years in office.
“It’s under circumstances that I honestly can tell you are the worst possible. Frank Mann was a friend of mine,” said Albion. “I believe I have the type of track record that the public can have great confidence in and know that they’re going to have my ear that we’re going to do it together.”
Realtor Angela Chenaille qualified as a write-in candidate. She said her different “Take” on the issues could be useful.
“I think having a woman’s perspective on the board would be a pretty good idea. Because right now, there’s not one,” said Chenaille.
Both Chenaille and Albion said they would focus on water quality.
“I am part of a big boating community. So water quality is a big plus, I want to be certain that it’s taken a better look at,” said Chenaille.
“The whole Lake O situation is so critical. I’ve been here long enough that I’ve seen through drought, not having the releases from Lake Okeechobee and seeing amazing clarity in our waters,” said Albion.
The first step in replacing Frank Mann will be the August primary.