Michelle McLeod on International Women’s Day

March 8th will now be recognized as “International Women’s Day in Collier County” as proclaimed by the Collier Board of County Commissioners to highlight the work the Women’s Foundation of Collier County accomplishes to benefit women and girls in our community! The proclamation, sponsored by County Commissioner Andy Solis, acknowledges how WFCC positively impacts the lives of women and girls in Collier County through grant making, advocacy, and education efforts.

International Women’s Day has been observed since 1911 as a day to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.

P R O C L A M A T I O N

WHEREAS, International Women’s Day has been observed since 1911 as a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women; and

WHEREAS, the Women’s Foundation of Collier County serves as a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls in Collier; and

WHEREAS, Aims to meet the current needs of senior women in our community assisting homeless senior women in need and address isolation concerns; and

WHEREAS, Empowers young women and girls to meet their full potential through scholarships, mentorships and career development; and

WHEREAS, Recognizes the important role women play in Collier Country through its Women of Initiative awards, which honor local women leaders who are an inspiration to women seeking to make a difference through philanthropy and civic engagement; and

WHEREAS, Women account for more than 50% of Collier County’s population, and there are women serving locally in leadership positions, inspiring the continued work in advancing opportunities for women and girls of all backgrounds

NOW THEREFORE, be it proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Collier County, Florida, that March 8 be designated as

International Women’s Day in Collier County

DONE AND ORDERED THIS 8th Day of March

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
COLLIER COUNTY, FLORIDA

Michelle McLeod on Mental Health

School Safety Initiatives

After the Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting, the state created an initiative towards a school safety mandate allocating $3 million toward placing a sworn deputy in every public and charter school. This initiative is in the 4th and final year of its funding.

The safety of our children and teachers should always be a priority. I will work hard to lobby our legislators to refund this school safety initiative. The refunding of this initiative will also have a secondary benefit in that is will save a significant amount of Collier County tax payer dollars.

Control Spending

I was fortunate to serve on the Naples City Council from 2016 to 2020.  In those years, I helped lead the efforts of three significant landmark projects.

  1. Design and construction of Baker Park
  2. Reconstruction of the Naples City Dock
  3. Construction of the City’s Emergency Operation Center

All three of these projects were started and completed within my term, all under budget.

In the county, I have been concerned with the excessive spending that is occurring on landmark projects like what we are seeing with the Paradise Sports Complex which is currently $67 million over budget.  Budgeting for a project and sticking to that budget is a fiduciary responsibility of an elected official to its tax payers.  I have a proven track record of managing projects in budget which I will caring to the county level.

Economic Sustainability

First and foremost, Collier County needs an economic plan that includes long-range planning for smart growth sustainability.    This plan should:

  • Entice companies to bring high wage jobs to our area
  • Appeal to young professionals
  • Diversify the economy
  • Create self-sustaining communities
  • Support small businesses
  • Make available useful resources, be it human or product resources.
  • Utilize asset based community resources focusing on social capital.. community helping people.

Once established, the county should use the plan as a working document in policy making to ensure the county’s economic sustainability is a top priority.

Housing Solutions

I maintain the core belief that everything important starts at home.  Having a safe, healthy and structurally secure home helps build strong and healthy individuals and families.  And these homes must be affordable to help ease stressful, financial struggles.

Government has the tools to help encourage housing that is sound and affordable.  I support policies that create housing solutions such as with land development incentives, funding for land trust programs, community assistance programs, and strict use of the state’s Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Mental Health

To address mental health and substance use disorders in Collier County, I was a part of the Collier County Ad Hoc committee that created the first-ever 5 year strategic plan to address these issues in our county.  The strategic plan includes the following six priorities:

  1. Building a centralized receiving facility
  2. Housing and supportive services
  3. Increasing the effectiveness of the court system
  4. Collaborative data reporting
  5. Improving non-emergency Baker Act and Marchman Act transportation
  6. Prevention, education and advocacy.

I am now actively involved with the Collier Coalition for Healthy Minds nonprofit group committed to implementing this strategic plan.  I will continue to do whatever I can to help individuals and families who are struggling with these heartbreaking, life threatening illnesses.

Workforce Needs

With decades of business experience in Collier County, I have always struggled to find talented, innovative, problem solving employees.  That is why I strongly support the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and its legislative priorities for workforce education programs, training, internships and apprenticeships so that we can draw highly competent and competitive, job seeking individuals to our businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Water Quality

As a native Floridian and avid outdoors person, water quality has always been top of mind to me.  I grew up on the water… swimming, boating and skiing.  I want all to enjoy the wonders and beauty of our waterways.   That is why I support the acceleration of water quality initiatives that keep pollutants from entering our waterways.  Initiatives such as:

  • Funding of septic to sewer projects
  • Diverting fresh water from the Golden Gate canal away from Naples Bay which affects its proper salinity levels,
  • Planting drought resistant plants and trees to save on water and reduce runoff
  • Storm water improvement projects and updating land codes to reduce runoff

One such initiative I personally brought to the City of Naples was through the introduction of the BioGrow product that was the first ever organic, completely natural fertilizer that has been used in the city since 2018.

Growth

Like Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation says, unlike development practices of 100 years ago, development today can happen in an environmentally sensitive way.  Development and the environment can coexist.  ”

I agree with that concept and support smart growth policies that protect private property rights while also being sensitive to the environment.

The most beneficial and best use of land should be a top consideration when making land development policies.  It should consider things such as ample green space, minimal impacts on the environment, consolidation of resources, and minimizing traffic.