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April Luncheon

Thursday, April 21st  

Registration begins at 11:30 am, Players Club & Spa in Lely Resort - 8060 Grand Lely Dr., Naples    

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About the Candidates

* In Order of Appearance on the Supervisor of Elections Website 

Daija Hinojosa - Daija Hinojosa and her husband Xavier have been full time residents of Collier County for 10 years. Daija and her husband spend their time with a non-profit, Agents for Change International, that specializes in mentorship & leadership training. She is a business consultant and is looking forward to bringing a fresh perspective to Collier County.

Daniel Kowal - Daniel Kowal is a US Army veteran and retired Law Enforcement officer. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he entered into a career of civilian Law Enforcement. He served as a Special Agent in Washington D.C., followed by 18 years as a Deputy Sheriff working for the Collier County Sheriffs office. Daniel is the Chief of Operations of Halex Corporation, a property holdings company here in Naples.

Michelle McLeod - Michelle is a third generation Floridian, raised in Fort Myers and now a resident of Collier County for 30 years.  Michelle’s business and government experiences range from 25 years in the hotel industry, six years in banking, four years as a city council member for the City of Naples, and decades of service on advisory boards.  Along with her professional experience, Michelle has an undergraduate degree from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana and a graduate degree from Florida Gulf Coast University with a concentration in Finance.  She is also a proud graduate of Leadership Collier ‘14 and Leadership Florida, XXXVI. 

Penny Taylor -  Penny Taylor  brings over 20 years of experience to local government, advancing quality of life measures based on water quality, growth and development, and the economy.  She was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018. She was named Chair in 2017 and 2021. From 2000-2010 Taylor served on the Naples City Council including two years as Naples Vice-Mayor. 

About our Moderator

Eric has worked as a journalist in Southwest Florida for more than 30 years, currently as the Government Accountability Editor for The News-Press in Fort Myers and the Naples Daily News. Before that he covered business and real estate, the city of Naples, and the environment. He was part of a team of journalists that produced "Deep Trouble: The Gulf in Peril," which won an Edward J. Meeman Award for environmental reporting. His series with Ryan Mills about Florida's mismanagement of its eroding beaches, "Shrinking Shorelines," won the Gold Medal for Public Service from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors.


About our Forum

East Naples Civic & Commerce takes great pride in this opportunity to bring those seeking elected office before our membership and community. Though all registered candidates are Republicans, this is a strictly non-partisan forum. Candidates were first contacted in February and any candidate that since registers for the office will be accommodated to the best of our ability. Candidates were sent questions vetted by our Moderator on April 1st 2022. It will be the moderator's discretion to which order they are asked and if time allows for questions to be asked from the floor. This is make best use of the time for both the sake of the candidates and also for those in attendance to hear diverse and ranging topics on important issues facing  East Naples. Each Candidate will have a two minute introduction. For each question, candidates will have a 90 second response time and then have 90 seconds to close at conclusion. Questions will be posed for all candidates to respond. We will begin lunch by 11:50am at the very latest so please plan to arrive and register on time.

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