Read the Tuff Times 2016 Christmas Letter
August 20, 2016
Russell Tuff earns our endorsement for the Republican nomination among three exceptional GOP candidates in Collier County Commission District 3.
What crystallizes the decision for us is that this is a district race, not a countywide contest. We’re not sure there’s been a commission contest in recent times with a candidate more recognizable as the neighborhood guy, as we’d describe Tuff.
Through decades of civic service, Tuff already is the face of District 3, centered in the densely packed, working-class Golden Gate community. He not only knows the agenda for the district, he’s been actively leading the way in setting it.
His exhaustive community service resume has included president of the Golden Gate Area Civic Association, president of the Golden Gate Chamber of Commerce, Collier County planning commissioner, Collier County Economic Advisory Council, the county’s first tourism board, Naples-area chamber, member of the committee that created the Golden Gate Master Plan and serving on the Collier Republican Executive Committee, for starters. That doesn’t count his time coaching youth football, Little League baseball and serving as a Cub Scout leader in this family-oriented district. This is all since Tuff, 57, moved to Collier County in 1989.
For this level of dedication, there has to be a reward. We suggest it’s selection to the GOP nomination in District 3.
Only registered Republicans who reside in District 3 vote in this Aug. 30 primary. The Republican winner among Tuff, longtime public servant and attorney Burt Saunders and businessman/up-and-comer Ron Kezeske moves on to Nov. 8. The primary winner faces Democrat Annisa Karim, who likewise has a well-credentialed resume, making for a competitive matchup to come in the general election.
We can’t overstate how impressive Tuff’s competition is in this Aug. 30 race.
Saunders, 67, a resident since 1982, began here as Collier County government’s attorney, served as a county commissioner, and also as a member of the Florida House and state Senate. He’s been a lobbyist for county government, and attorney for the city of Marco Island and Village of Estero. His network of connections reaches far beyond District 3 to Tallahassee. If this were an at-large commission race, he would be a formidable choice.
Kezeske, 29, is comparatively a newcomer, having moved here in 2009. He’s a real estate investment manager and co-owner of a dog-training business. As a member of the Naples Jaycees and volunteer adviser on county public safety and code enforcement boards, he’s quickly grasped the key issues facing Collier County.
We dwell on their accomplishments to reinforce how our recommendation of Tuff is truly choosing the best of the best.
So what would the neighborhood guy do?
We’re convinced Tuff will continue his demonstrated track record of attacking head-on any Golden Gate-area scourges that emerge, just as he did the once intolerable far-wafting landfill smell and the past prevalence of drug houses in that community.
There are too few sidewalks for kids now walking in the streets to and from school. That’s a big issue on his radar that illustrates his understanding of District 3’s needs. What about providing safe, affordable places to live for everyone? Figuring out ways to expand what’s offered and affordability in the rental market is his focus, which is an appropriate strategy in already well-developed District 3.
He wants to end the longstanding battle between the Collier clerk of courts and commission in which he sees both sides as obstinate – “diplomacy will be a nice change,” he said.
Tuff stated at the recent Naples Daily News debate he will stand by historical promises to property owners and residents to provide community recreation at Golden Gate Country Club, not more development. A municipal golf course there? Possibly, he said.
Zoning that allows noisy businesses backing up to residential areas? Tuff questions why, when that’s been a problem in the past, it’s not a lesson learned to prevent another divisive debate elsewhere. Drainage and water system problems? Tuff is aware.
Why wouldn’t he know? He’s the neighborhood guy, the one we endorse in the County Commission District 3 primary.
Russell Tuff was present for the celebration of Elite Airways announcement of providing commercial service at the Naples Airport.
Tuff mentioned to Fox 4 Now Reporter that the service schedules that are only daytime, and the type of quieter jets make for a win/win for the community.
The convenience offered to area residents, and the economic advantages make for a great fit for the community.
Russell Tuff walked television reporter Karl Fortier through the damage in Golden Gate City. He discussed reviewing priorities in brush removal after severe storm. Tuff stated that the Golden Gate community is the most densely populated area in the county, with 4 elementary schools, a middle school located within the four square mile border, and a high school across the bridge.
The community has few sidewalks, which causes large safety problems avoiding storm damage as students must walk to school in the roadways. He suggested priorities should be reviewed that address population density and safety, versus political might to determine which communities should get cleaned up first after a major storm.
In the Naples Daily News, Tuff had been quoted in the editorial titled “Help is on the way, Golden Gate and Estates, for storm debris cleanup”
“There’s a whole lot more damage out here than people realized,” says Russell Tuff, president of the Golden Gate Area Civic Association. “There’s just a ton of damage.”
Tuff says he sees a truck out every day picking up tree debris. There’s just too much.
“I don’t think it’s anybody’s neglect,” he said. “It’s just the amount of damage that there is and it’s taking a long time.”
Read the whole story – Click Here
During this year’s 25th Annual Citizen of the Year Banquet, the community surprised us with the establishment of the Russell Tuff Public Service Award and the Kaydee Tuff Community Service Award.
This year’s Community Service Award was presented to Chris Murphy, right, a volunteer with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and the Public Service Award went to Roy Terry, long time principal and Collier County School Board member.
Thank you to the Naples Daily News for covering the banquet and for some great photographs – naplesnews.com
Russell Tuff was interviewed by Naples Daily News editor Allen Bartlett on his weekly television show “NewsMakers.”
Read our 2014 Tuff Times Christmas Letter
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