Attorney Noelle Branning announced her candidacy for Lee County Tax Collector.
“It is with much excitement that I announce my candidacy for Lee County Tax Collector,” she said.
“I will ensure the office remains a good steward of your hard-earned tax dollars, while seeking opportunities to provide additional services to help streamline your interaction with government.”
Now the Chief Deputy for the Tax Collector’s Office, she’s no stranger to the inner workings there. The North Fort Myers Republican out of the gate also boasts the endorsement of retiring Tax Collector Larry Hart.
“I am confident that under her [Branning’s] leadership the agency will continue to move forward,” said Hart, who formally announced his retirement from the post last week.
“With her experience, she is the right person at the right time to succeed me. Noelle has the ability and skillset to continue the great work the Lee County Tax Collector’s office is doing for our community. She is well qualified, and I am pleased to support her.”
Gov. Rick Scott appointed Hart as Tax Collector in 2012 and the Republican was elected to two more terms.
Branning, who earned her law degree from St. Thomas University in 2004 worked in the State Attorney’s Office in the 20th Circuit before entering private practice. She joined Hart’s office in 2013, first as General Counsel before being promoted to Chief Deputy in 2018.
“I am grateful for the seven years I’ve had with Larry as a leader and mentor,” Branning said of Hart. “Larry is a visionary and community focused leader committed to providing exceptional customer service. I have learned so much from him both personally and professionally and I will miss working with him.”
As for her own plans for the office, continued expansion of technology will be a top priority, and she also promised transparency, cybersecurity and mindful protection of taxpayer dollars.
This year could bring several changes for constitutional offices in Lee County. In addition to Hart, Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson also announced his retirement. Former state Rep. Matt Caldwell is running for that position.
Sheriff Carmine Marceno, appointed in 2016, is running for his first full term and faces Republican Jim Leavens in the primary, with independent Coach Ray filed in the general.