Donna Fiala endorses Jacob Winge for Collier County Commission
Collier County Government Center

She picked the youngest candidate in the race as her chosen successor.

Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala has picked who she wants following her into office.

Fiala, who announced in July she would not seek reelection, endorsed Jacob Winge.

“It came down to who would work on behalf of all the residents in the district, who had knowledge of the district’s issues, was a good listener with fairness and common sense, and had interest in serving the community more than self,” Fiala said.

Winge, a civic leader who kicked off his campaign in September, would at 28 years old be the youngest commissioner in a region filled with retirees.

“I know some of you are saying, but he’s so young. Although Jacob is young, and that seems to be his biggest hurdle, he has extensive knowledge about Collier County Government and the issues we face in our entire district,” Fiala said.

“He has a strong passion for our community, he listens and will dedicate himself full-time. I feel his philosophy and commitment to us will be a strong one. Please join me in supporting Jacob Winge for District 1 County Commissioner.”

Winge is one of five Republicans actively running, along with Mark Batchelor, Cliff Donenfeld, William Douglas and Rick LoCastro.

The young candidate said he was grateful for Fiala’s support.

“It is humbling,” he said. “Serving my community has always motivated me. I am in this race to be a voice for our community, tackle tough issues, and lead on a positive vision for our future. We need a leader with heart more than bullet points on a resume and now more than ever a backbone more than a wishbone.”

Fiala stressed the decision wasn’t necessarily easy.

“I have said I would endorse someone, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be,” she said. “I was sure one candidate would stick way out in front after the first forum and it would be easy, but it wasn’t. So off I went to all four Candidate forums that have been held.”

She also had private meetings with several candidates but ultimately settled on Winge.

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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