Two people are vying to be the Mayor of southwest Florida’s largest city.
Incumbent Mayor, John Gunter, is looking to win his first full term. He was appointed to the position last year after Joe Coviello’s death.
He faces Tom Shadrach, a former senior manager at Boeing. Shadrach is a member of the Cape Coral budget committee and wants to have his voice heard.
Candidates are hopeful they can get Cape Coral through its massive growth spurt and set the city up for success in the future. Both Mayor Gunter and challenger Shadrach have experience in business and want to implement their own style of running Cape Coral.
Council appointed Gunter to be Mayor in January 2021. In 18 months, he’s seen the city grow at a faster rate than expected. And now he wants a full term to ensure he finishes what he started.
“We have to make sure that strategic plan is finalized because that will give us the vision and the road map how we’re going to build our city out for the next 20 years,” Mayor Gunter said.
Mayor Gunter won a seat on the council in 2017, representing the people in district one, which is the city’s southeast section. He touts his experience in leading Cape Coral forward. “I know what the needs of the community are,” Mayor Gunter said. “I know some of the discussions that we have had with what works and what doesn’t work.”
Challenger Tom Shadrach doesn’t see it that way. He worked at Boeing for 37 years, and he’s never been in politics before. But, he views that as a positive. “I don’t have an agenda. I’m not a builder. I’m not a real estate person,” Shadrach said. “I came here to retire, but I’ve gotten involved with my skill set to understand that there’s problems, and I can help.”
Shadrach told WINK News he thinks the city needs to catch up with the rate of growth. “We got to really double how fast we’re doing things,” Shadrach said. “And the only way to do that is to have a business mindset to it and get things done faster. And get out of the bureaucracy more.”
WINK News spoke with each candidate about some of the other pressing issues facing the city, including safety and water quality, as well as the plans for their first 100 days in office.