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Republican primary in D-79 has two vying
August 8, 2018

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With Matt Caldwell terming out as state representative in District 79, the race for the House seat encompassing North Fort Myers, Alva and Lehigh Acres is wide open.

In a traditionally Republican district, Spencer Roach and Matt Miller are vying for the GOPs slot on the ballot in the Aug. 28 primary.

The winner will face Democrat Mark Lipton in the general election.

Neither has held public office before.

Matt Miller

Age: 48

Residence: Alva

Occupation: Businessman

Matt Miller is no stranger to running for office, having run for county commissioner in 2012 and for state representative in 2014 and 2016 as a Republican and an independent.

Miller, an Air Force veteran of Desert Storm, said it's hard to break out of the two-party system, which is why he's running as a conservative.

"There are a lot of 'RINOs' (Republican in Name Only). They say they're Republican because they know it's a Republican town," Miller said. "I'm not one to give up and I'm not doing this for fame or fortune."

Miller said if he wins he will not collect a salary and that he would fight those who are in this not to help their state but for the money. He said if people want to get into public service, they need to do the right thing.

"I have to do the right thing for the future of this country," he said.

Miller believes government should be run like a business and will advocate for taxpayers by cutting unnecessary spending. He is against Common Core and is for local control of schools; supports phasing out property tax, especially those who are over 65; and supports introducing legislation for term limits for all elected officials in the state.

Miller, a 25-year resident of Lee County, said he's going to tell the voters things as they are since he is not in bed with special interests and won't take money from anybody, a key issue politics now.

"Matt Caldwell spent a half-million dollars to my $13,000 last time. Is that fair for a $28,000 seat?" he said.

Spencer Roach

Age: 40

Residence: North Fort Myers

Occupation: Retired Coast Guard JAG Officer

Spencer Roach spent nearly his entire adult life in the Coast Guard, which helped put him through law school at the University of Miami. He has since worked for U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney before leaving to run for office for the first time.

Roach said the words that resonated with him when he joined the Coast Guard still resonate today, particularly about jobs.

"Working for Rep. Rooney really whetted my appetite to get involved in policy and politics and when this seat opened after Matt termed out, I thought why not take a stab at it," Roach said. "For me, this is a continuation of the service ethos I had with the Coast Guard."

Roach said his main goal is to continue job growth that is among the strongest in the nation. He said he would do this through work force development, economic stability and upward mobility.

"I want to promote expanded access to trade schools and offer it in the high schools. When we look at what's happening here, we're poised to add 180,000 jobs this year alone," Roach said. "We need to work on workforce development to continue to give us that edge over other states."

Roach said he would address water quality and giving the best care to veterans to make Florida the most veteran friendly state in the nation. He also said he would keep the federal government in check and push back against the federal administrative state.

Roach said he wants to continue the conservative principles that have helped the state achieve a great bond rating, low unemployment and great fiscal health.

"It shows that conservative priorities work and I want to continue that fight when I get to Tallahassee," Roach said.

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