Rick LoCastro jumps into hot Collier Co. Commission contest
Collier County Government Center

He's the fifth candidate to file for the open seat.

Longtime health care executive Rick LoCastro announced Wednesday he’s running for Collier County Commission.

LoCastro, now president of RJL Consulting, touted years of service in the Air Force, where he retired as a colonel, an in Southwest Florida business.

Rick LoCastro

“There’s no question our community is amazing, but we need to ensure we take experienced and proper steps to keep it that way,” the Marco Island Republican said.

“I’ve had the privilege of developing leadership and problem-solving skills throughout my extensive military and business career, and I look forward to dedicating myself to the Commissioner position and the many challenges and opportunities in District 1 and all of Collier County.”

The seat has proven a draw since 20-year County Commissioner Donna Fiala announced she will not seek reelection, according to the Naples Daily News.

LoCastro lives in Marco Island and works in east Naples, connecting him with the critical areas of District 1.

He’s entering an already crowded field vying for the open seat. Republicans Jacob Winge, Mark Batchelor and William Douglass have also filed, as has Democrat John Jenkins. Winge, president of the East Naples Civic Association, has already raised more than $2,300.

But LoCastro comes in with significant business ties. He served for more than four years as chief operating officer of Physicians Regional Medical Center. He’s also been a veteran’s advocate and outspoken supporter of another Collier County resident, Sen. Rick Scott.

During his 24-year military career, LoCastro served as director of Human Resources of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base. He also served as base commander for both the Base Commander of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the 96th Air Base Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach.

“As the Commander of some of our largest and highest profile military installations, I’ve had the privilege to command all aspects of several bases, including housing, utilities, environmental protection, emergency response, healthcare, leading and working with thousands of personnel, and everything in between to run a large city,” LoCastro said.

“Also, leading a multitude of operations in a large local medical center contained many of those same responsibilities.”

That will ultimately help him as a candidate and commissioner, he said.

“It’s important all of our commissioners have depth in the issues and a proven record of leading teams and understanding and solving difficult problems,” LoCastro said.

“I’m fortunate and blessed to have done that in the military and in my civilian career, and I am dedicated to this community. I look forward to campaigning full-time so I can share my passion and views concerning our community and our future.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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