Native son Chauncey Solinger, 28, is one of three GOP candidates running for the District 76 seat, which includes Boca Grande, in the Florida House of Representatives.
A self-made businessman whose humble beginnings range from teenage adoption by a minister's family to standing in line for food assistance, Solinger said he believes he's most in touch out of the trio of candidates with the plight of the common Lee County resident.
His platform: Cut taxes, reduce government spending, balance budgets and eliminate job-killing regulations to get Southwest Floridians working again. Here's his pitch for Boca Grande voters:
Chauncey Solinger of Fort Myers
QUESTION: Why run?
ANSWER: I've been in business for almost five years now. I see a lot of people out of work. I'd like to change that.
Q: What would you do first?
Chauncey Solinger at a glance
Birth date: June 9, 1984
Hometown: Fort Myers
Education: Riverside Baptist Church, Estero High School and University of Central Florida. Graduated with a degree in business marketing and a minor in psychology.
You should know: Was adopted at 16 by a minister and his wife.
Occupation: salesman for Cutco and a Mazda dealership during college. Opened a scooter dealership offering sales and service, including motorcycle training and temporary license plate services.
Family: Became a father in December 2011 when his fianc gave birth to twin girls. Civic groups: A member of many organizations including the National Rifle Association, Florida Independent Automobile Dealer's Association, and American Bikers Aiming Toward Education.
Hobbies: Softball, Little League with stepsons, teach motorcycle-licensing classes. Spend a lot of time with twin daughters, watch movies.
Creating Southwest Florida Jobs
Government out-of-control spending
Ending illegal immigration
Discovered Boca Grande: I was just a kid. I'm looking forward to getting to know some of the people there and helping them with the issues they are having.
A: The first thing I would do is take the government access we have available to the community and open it up. It's a way for community to be more involved in government decision-making. None of the other candidates have proposed anything like that.
Q: When was thee moment you knew you were going to run?
A: Being in business, I really want to give back to community. People come to my place and complain. Someone like me needs to come in and straighten it out.
Q: What sets you apart from your two rivals for this seat?
A: I'm the only candidate born and raised in Lee County.
Q: How did your rugged childhood help mold your candidacy?
A: I grew up with five brothers and sisters on WIC and knew that's not what I wanted.
Q: What track record do you have for politics?
A: This is the kind of thing hardcore Republicans know. Community comes first. At the University of Central Florida, I started a chapter of the Young Investors Club. I really got people engaged in things I thought they were missing out in the educational system.
Q: Starting a business after graduating from college really opened your eyes to what hardships?
A: There are too many regulations. It is easier to go on unemployment - literally - than to start a business. I almost went broke. It took me four months to get all my licenses. Someone needs to say you're forgetting about the little guys. It has got to be made easier to create jobs and put people back to work.
Q: What are some other top-of-mind issues?
A: Teacher merit pay is a huge issue. They do not like it whatsoever. If your workers don't like something it doesn't make any sense. They are teaching for testing only for the (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). It's killing morale. Students are leaving it's hurting the teachers. Merit pay doesn't work. Our schools thrive in spite of these issues. We have great teachers and we need to give them power to teach our students.
Q: Who is your role model?
A: My grandpa, Fire Commissioner Raymond Byrne, a World War II veteran. . He owned a number of businesses, started a fire department and became its first fire commissioner.
Q: What's your opinion of Gov. Rick Scott's performance?
A: He has a tough job. I think some of his policies are having trouble with legality. I don't agree with everything he's done, especially with merit pay. If students come home with issues, they won't have an open mind and they won't perform. That's not fair.
Q: Presidential preference?
A: Mitt Romney, for sure. We've got to have someone with business experience.
Q: Do you have enough experience to lead?
A: I have three decades of living in Lee County. I know what it's like. My feet have been in everyone's shoes here in town. I have my fingers on the pulse of community. My motivation, energy and what it takes to move us forward will be greater than the others.