Newsletter, Collier County Florida Democratic Party

September 2023


Jane Schlechtweg
Collier County Democratic Party Chair

Letter from the Chair

On Tuesday, August 22, the Board of County Commissioners folded to a faction of election deniers, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and gun rights activists to pass a totally unnecessary ordinance declaring Collier County a sanctuary county for the Bill of Rights. As Commissioner Burt Saunders pointed out, the ordinance is vague. It doesn’t specify what authority the Board has to make Sheriff Kevin Rambosk the protector of our Bill of Rights. When this ordinance was first proposed in 2021, a Resolution was passed in July 2021, declaring the county would be forever a sanctuary for the Bill of Rights. Enacting this ordinance is supposed to give “teeth” to that Resolution. However, again it is vague as it does not provide a mechanism for determining which laws are unconstitutional. Its sole design is to make the election deniers, ultra conservatives, gun activists, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers, etc. comfortable with flouting any federal law they disagree with. Questions of “constitutionality” are decided by our judicial system and ultimately, the US Supreme Court. Enacting this “sanctuary” subjugates every citizen of Collier County to an extremist ideology that seeks to destroy the protections of our Constitution – the checks and balances of power in our government – and claim autocracy over decisions of law.

Further, at the upcoming school board meeting on Monday, September 11, Jerry Rutherford will introduce a list of seven ideologies he wants banned from our county school system. The seven ideologies are part of his political goals to make our county schools a conservative, non-diverse educational institution. These ideologies include, Wokeism, Antifa, the Gay Agenda, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), Social Emotional Learning, BLM (Black Lives Matter), and CRT (critical race theory). He also wants to introduce prayer into the school day. Our children deserve a quality, truth-filled education from our teachers and school board. All children deserve an education free from hate, discrimination, and stigma.
Now more than ever, we must hold our elected and appointed officials’ feet to the fire. We will raise our voices and fight tirelessly to bring awareness to the voters in our county so that we do not go down the path of an autocratic theocracy.

Jane Schlechtweg
Collier County Democratic Party Chair

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Florida Dems are on the Move


As the 2024 election season approaches, your state and local Democratic Parties are hard at work. The Florida Democratic Party’s Chair, Nikki Fried, has brought new energy and new ideas to move the party forward, starting with a statewide Take Back Florida tour and a $1M pledge for Voter Registration work.

At the local level, your Collier County Democratic Party is working on multiple fronts to energize Democrats and put us on a path to victory. We are registering new voters, getting existing voters signed up for vote-by-mail, recruiting candidates, and making our presence known at community events throughout the county.

Here are some of the ways your local and state parties are working towards victory in 2024:

Florida Democratic Party

  • The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) has launched a statewide tour to directly engage with and organize Florida voters around the true support they need from their Governor and elected officials. This is a multi-pronged effort to do critical organizing – voter registration, vote by mail re-enrollment, and ballot petitions – to take back Florida.
  • The FDP is investing $1 million – just in 2023 – in voter registration alone. This will play a key role in building the groundwork and infrastructure that we need to ensure Floridians are heard.
  • The FDP is bringing together a wide coalition of elected officials and county parties to show Floridians who are actually fighting for them.

Collier Dems

  • For the past three years the governor has been creating unprecedented obstacles to voter registration, making it much riskier for organizations like ours to register new voters. Our Voter Protection and Voter Registration teams are working together to come up with creative solutions to reduce risk to our volunteers and continue serving our community.
  • We have formed a robust Communications Team to ensure that our message reaches as many people as possible. The team submits articles to local newspapers, creates press releases, and of course, produces this newsletter.
  • We are raising voter awareness through email, texting, engagement in social media, ad buys, and mailers.
  • As the season gets into full swing, we are organizing a variety of events providing an opportunity for Dems to meet and mingle in a friendly environment. These meet-and-greets also act as fundraising opportunities to help sustain our activities.

Of course, we can’t do any of this without you. Please forward this email to your friends, request your vote-by-mail ballot, and of course, vote! Together we are #StrongerTogether.

Adam Molny
Vice-chair, Collier County Democratic Party

Collier County Democratic Executive Committee (DEC) Meetings

The DEC is the local official arm of the Florida Democratic Party and is comprised of elected Committeemen and Women. Official meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 PM.

The next meeting is September 6, 2023 via Zoom.

Register to receive the meeting link to attend. 

Registered Democrats may attend and observe as guests and must register ahead of time. Only DEC members may vote and participate in the meeting. Attendees are encouraged to join 10 minutes early to get settled before the meeting begins.

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars for our flagship event in 2024! Join your fellow Democrats for a fun evening of food, drink, guest speakers, and a silent auction. Tickets will go on sale later this year.

When: Saturday, March 2, 2024 4:30pm to 6:30pm

Where: Hilton Naples, 511 Tamiami Trail N, Naples FL, 34103

Some photos from the 2022 Gala:

Biden’s Accomplishments Thus Far

Yes, President Biden is 80 years old. And yes, many 80-year-olds exhibit physical and/or cognitive decline. But do not be distracted by Joe Biden’s age or the likelihood of what his age might suggest.  His age alone is not a reliable indicator of his intellect, energy, or ability.  You need only look at his impactful accomplishments and leadership to understand how fit he has been and continues to be as our President.

President Biden demonstrated his savviness during this year’s State of the Union Address when he tricked GOP hecklers into agreeing NOT to cut Social Security and Medicare on live TV! That maneuver ensured Social Security and Medicare were NOT part of debt ceiling negotiations where the GOP was apparently quite willing to take us over the cliff and default on our debt. His negotiating skills were also demonstrated in the overall debt ceiling outcome: 

  • He put together a very talented and masterful negotiating team to achieve his results.
  • He remained coy during negotiations, claiming he would not negotiate the debt ceiling and would not commit to using the 14th Amendment to pay our debts.
  • He protected Social Security and Medicare through 2025.
  • The debt limit is suspended until January 1, 2025.
  • Discretionary spending is capped during fiscal 2024 and 2025.
  • New provisions for SNAP (food stamps) will actually increase funding for SNAP and those eligible for the program.  

As GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted, “We got absolutely destroyed in this negotiation.”  GOP Rep. Nancy Mace also tweeted, “Republicans got outsmarted by a President who can’t find his pants.”  Important achievements because of President Biden’s years of experience, wisdom and negotiating skills!

President Biden’s accomplishments are particularly evident in legislation passed in his first 2 years. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest reinvestment in our country’s infrastructure in decades.  It invests in energy supply chains, clean energy job creation, and rebuilding of our roads and bridges. According to Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist for Morgan Stanley, it is “driving a boom in large-scale infrastructure” across the country. Funding has already been approved for over 2800 bridge projects, including 9 critical mega bridge projects along with critical tunnels.  The Inflation Reduction Act invests in clean energy, improves access to clean water, lowers the cost of drugs for seniors, significantly expands broadband access across rural communities, and reduces our deficits. Results are so strong that Republicans who opposed these legislative initiatives are now taking credit for these accomplishments.  Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville tweeted: “Broadband is vital for the success of our rural communities and for our entire economy. Great to see Alabama receive crucial funds to boost ongoing broadband efforts.

The CHIPS and Science Act funds semiconductor industries and supply chain resilience, boosting US competitiveness, innovation, and national security.  Importantly it has already motivated companies to invest over $210B in private investment across 20 states leading to greater domestic manufacturing capacity. As of December 2022, over 50 semiconductor projects, creating over 44,000 new jobs, have been announced or begun!

Together these laws are spurring investments in manufacturing, creating jobs, and supporting workers like never before. And that investment is not just from the government.  The private sector is also jointly and proactively supporting these initiatives (versus trickling down profits into stock buybacks)!  Together, our economy has added over 13MM jobs, including 800,000+ manufacturing jobs.  And since 2021 over 10MM applications have been filed for new small businesses. 

A critical and highly important achievement was originally voted down by Senate Republicans: the Veterans’ PACT Act. It was signed into law last August after significant pressure from the Biden Administration and the public.  It expands VA health care and benefits due to exposure to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxins for veterans and their survivors.

Since taking office President Biden and his administration have spent and continue to spend significant time and energy repairing our global standing, mending of relationships with our foreign allies, and rebuilding alliances around the world. Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization.  Biden’s proactive leadership in solidifying and uniting NATO support for Ukraine has given the world hope that democracy will prevail against Russia. It has also led to the expansion of NATO with Finland and, soon to be ratified, Sweden.  President Biden has created and deepened our relationship with Asian allies, most recently with South Korea and Japan.  And he has worked to address US middle-class economic concerns when it comes to trade in these relationships.

This week another key Biden goal became a reality – increasing Medicare’s ability to reduce healthcare costs for seniors. The Inflation Reduction Act gave Medicare the ability to directly negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.  Insulin was initially chosen and capped at $35/month.  Medicare has now selected 10 more drugs for negotiation.  Over the next 4 years, Medicare will negotiate up to 60 drugs covered by Medicare Parts D and B, and up to 20 additional drugs every year thereafter.  The 10 new drugs critical to the health and well-being of senior Americans and representing $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for seniors, include:

  • Eliquis – Prevention and Treatment of blood clots
  • Jardiance – Diabetes and Heart failure
  • Xarelto – Prevention and Treatment of blood clots
  • Januvia – Diabetes 
  • Farxiga – Diabetes, Heart Failure and Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Entresto – Heart Failure
  • Enbrel – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Imbruvica – Blood Cancers
  • Stelara – Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
  • Fiasp – Diabetes 

These commonly used drugs will become much more affordable, making sure our seniors will be able to take the medicines they need without having to choose between paying for food or other household bills and their necessary medications.

President Biden has accomplished much for all Americans since taking office. We are already seeing the fruits of his accomplishments. And more importantly, he has also laid the groundwork for more success going forward.  President Biden may be 80 years old, but through his experience, wisdom, and moral compass he has out-achieved most presidents for the betterment of all Americans. 


Reproductive Freedom Update

Floridians Protecting Freedom (FPF), the committee working to put abortion access on Florida’s ballot in 2024, has collected more than 600,000 petitions in the three months since the campaign launched. That figure puts the coalition more than halfway to its petition goal, and includes a remarkable 117,502 petitions collected by volunteers or mailed directly to the campaign by Florida voters. Read the full August 15 press release…

Meanwhile, the Florida State Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on September 8 in Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, et al. v. State of Florida, et al., a case challenging Florida’s 15-week abortion ban arguing that it violates the state constitution’s privacy clause. Read about the case…

Noticias Políticas Para Hispanos

Iniciativas del Partido Demócrata durante el mes de agosto 2023

Registro de Votantes
  • Importancia de Nuevos Votantes – El Partido Demócrata ha marcado el registro de nuevos votantes, especialmente el voto de mujeres, de la juventud y de Hispanos como segmentos esenciales para el éxito de sus candidatos y plataforma de políticas en las elecciones nacionales, estatales y locales en el año 2024. Estas elecciones incluirán la elección para presidente de los Estados Unidos para el periodo del 2025 al 2029.
  • Día Nacional De Registro de Votantes – El 19 se septiembre ha sido designado como día de acción de registro por el Partido Demócrata de la Florida a través del estado. Esta campaña incluirá registro para esos votantes que prefieren votar por medio de boletos para votar por correo.    
  • Boletas Para Votar Por Correo – La reciente Ley de Votantes de la Florida (S.B. 7050), promulgada por el gobernador Republicano y su mayoría legislativa, requiere que votantes queriendo votar por Boleta Para Votar Por Correo, vuelvan a registrarse para cada ciclo de dos años de elecciones y deberán incluir documentos de identificación, como el carné de conducir o carné oficial de identificación emitido por el Estado de la Florida. Entre varias otras restricciones, la ley también drásticamente reduce el número de buzones permitidos en cada condado para coleccionar boletas para votar por correo.
  • Batallas Contra la Supresión de Votos – El Partido Demócrata mantiene vigilancia y activa oposición a las iniciativas que ha lanzado el Partido Republicano con su poder de mayoría en el gobierno del Estado de la Florida para restringir la libertad y conveniencia de poder ejercer el derecho de votar de las minorías.
  • El Partido Demócrata mantiene oposición a las actuales medidas del Partido Republicano de la Florida y nacionalmente que se caracterizan por su falta de humanidad en el recibimiento y procesamiento de inmigrantes no documentados entrando por la frontera del sur de los Estados Unidos. Las medidas más extremas han sido tomadas por los gobernadores republicanos de los estados de Florida y Texas, los cuales han transportado nuevos inmigrantes indocumentados, bajo condiciones sin su entendimiento y completo conocimiento, a lugares clasificados, según ellos, como ciudades de refugios de los demócratas (como son Nueva York, Washington D.C.).
  • Nueva Ley de Florida SB 1718 de Contra-Inmigración – Esta nueva ley profundiza las permitidas acciones de crueldad contra inmigrantes no documentados. Promulgada en el 2023 por el gobernador republicano de la Florida y su mayoría en la legislatura, esta ley incluye las siguientes provisiones:  
    • Tomó efecto el 1 de julio
    • Declara ilegal el proveer transportación a la Florida a refugiados indocumentados y puede resultar en cárcel hasta un periodo de 15 años  
    • Licencias de conducir emitidas por autoridades fuera de Florida no son válidas en Florida
    • Verificación para empleo – todas empresas con más de 25 empleados deberán verificar electrónicamente con las autoridades federales el estatus legal del aplicante para confirmar que tienen autorización para trabajar en los Estados Unidos.
    • Carnés de identidad – las comunidades locales no tienen más la autoridad de emitir cedulas de identidad
    • Cuidado de salud en hospitales y clínicas – estas entidades de cuidado de salud deberán solicitar el estatus legal de ciudadanía o inmigración a todo paciente con el entendimiento que tratamiento de salud no será negado y que el paciente puede negar proveer esa información 
    • Estos requerimientos han causado a muchos inmigrantes no documentados huir el estado de la Florida por medio que sean detenidos y expulsados de los Estados Unidos.
El derecho de aborto y cuidado de salud
  • Apoya la actual campaña de peticiones para incluir en la elección de noviembre del 2024 un referéndum para una enmienda a la constitución del Estado de la Florida para codificar el derecho de reproducción en ley que explícitamente prohíbe la implementación de leyes que prohíben, atrasan o restringen acceso al aborto.
  • El gobernador republicano de la Florida y su mayoría en la legislatura recientemente promulgaron la más extrema ley (Hearbeat Protection Act) en los Estados Unidos que prohíbe el aborto. La ley prohíbe en Florida el aborto después de seis semanas, antes que la mayoría de las mujeres se dan cuenta que están embarazadas. El Partido Republicano favorece una prohibición nacional de los derechos del aborto con pocas o ningunas excepciones.  Ellos razonan que es inmoral terminar la vida del no nacido bajo todas o la mayoría de las circunstancias, incluyendo violación sexual, incesto, o peligro a la vida de la madre.
Estadísticas demográficas de la comunidad Hispana
  • Latinos constituyen 25% de la población de Collier County (392 mil) y 27.1% de la población de la Florida (22 millones)
  • Latinos constituyen 33 mil (13%) de los 255,022 votantes registrados en Collier County y aproximadamente 2.5 millones (17%) de los 14.5 millones de votantes registrados en la Florida
  • Latinos constituyen 40% del crecimiento en población durante la última década en el suroeste de la Florida y son un segmento con un importante y creciente impacto económico y político en Collier County y la Florida

DEC Caucus and Club News and Events!

Collier County Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida (CCDECF)

The CCDECF has a mission to elect candidates at the local, state and national level who will promote sound environmental policies. To do this, our Caucus engages in activities that educate voters and candidates about best approaches to our environmental challenges.

A Note from the CCDECF President

For many, August is a time for relaxing, spending time with family, and enjoying the last days of summer before the busy fall season. But for those of us in SW FL, there is no time to rest. 

Every time I go to my news app or turn on the TV, I am bombarded with headlines like, Alarmingly high water temperatures capture attention of FGCU’s expert researchers or Shocking levels of stress.’ A marine heat wave is devastating Florida’s corals. And, as highlighted by How Ron DeSantis Sold Out Florida Homeowners, a recent report published by a coalition of non-profits and advocacy groups, our elected officials continue to make bad decisions for Floridians and our environment.

The Caucus is preparing activities for the 2023-24 season and we need YOUR HELP to carry them out. Whether you are new to the cause or a long-time supporter, I hope you will consider volunteering some of your time to contribute to our collective goals. Read below to learn more about the environmental challenges we are facing and what you can do to help. 

As always, thank you for your support and we hope to see you soon!

Support Florida’s Right to Clean Water Amendment

The CCDECF is supporting the Right to Clean Water Amendment by educating voters and collecting petitions. This Amendment gives power to citizens and helps to correct the failure of our local officials to protect the health and vitality of our waterways. 

Joe Bonasia, Chair of the Rights of Nature Network, recently shared this inspiring article written by 15-year old Brice Claypoole, (who is a RTCW ambassador). Brice writes about dire threats to wetlands in Manatee County. He decries the “reckless and greedy developers who have…torn out many of our wildlands, resulting in loss of biodiversity, increased storm damage and polluted waters.” Later, he adds “Every one of Manatee’s current county commissioners has strong ties to the development industry. Determined to refill their campaign coffers before the next election, [they have] opened the floodgates to uncontrolled development and environmental destruction. They have approved countless ruinous developments [and] weakened our comprehensive plan.”

The situation that Brice describes is not unique to Manatee County. We still have work to do to achieve the number of petitions needed to get the Right to Clean Water Amendment added to the 2024 ballot before the November deadline. But it is ACHIEVABLE if we all do our part.

How you can help:

  1. Sign the Right to Clean Water amendment Petition Form and share with your friends & family (petitions must be printed and signed by FL registered voters)
  2. Watch the Intro to the Florida Right to Clean Water YouTube video.
  3. Record a video testimonial explaining why the FL Right to Clean Water amendment is important to you. Videos should be NO MORE THAN 1 minute in length and sent to
  4. Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in support of the amendment.
  5. Volunteer with CCDECF and help us collect signed petitions across Collier County.
  6. Become a member of the Collier County Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida for $15 annually.

Save the date

The next CCDECF meeting will take place Tuesday, September 19th at 6PM via Zoom.

CCDECF is looking for volunteers to help with  environmental activities this fall. Email for more information.

Liz Sunderland
President CCDECF

Connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn!

Collier County Democratic Club

Join us for the Fall kick-off meeting! Kait Thomson speaks on the status of the Florida Reproductive Rights Ballot Petition. Ms. Thomson is the Director of Government Relations for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida and is on the Executive Committee for Floridians Protecting Freedom (FPF), the alliance organization of the Abortion Rights Petition.

Kait Thomson

The meeting will be held on Monday, September 18, from 6:00-7:30 pm. Register here.

Democratic Women’s Club of Marco

The next meeting of DWCMarco will take place on  Tuesday, September 12,  from 5:00 – 6:30 pm via Zoom. 

Our featured speaker will be Melissa Blazier, Collier County Supervisor of Elections. Melissa will be speaking on these very important topics:

  • Changes in Florida election laws
  • Mail-in ballot requirements
  • How the SOE is handling petitions from FPF to put abortion on the ballot

Melissa Blazier

JOIN US! Our Zoom call will open at 4:45pm, and begin promptly at 5:00pm. Please be on time.

Registration is required. Click Here 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Community members interested in joining the club and promoting our Democratic values while supporting its charitable efforts can go to or contact us at

Learn About the Party and All the Volunteer Opportunities!

Come to an orientation session to learn about the Collier County Democratic Party and join our dedicated group of volunteers.

There is lots of work to be done as we approach the 2024 Election and WE NEED YOU!

There are many opportunities to choose from; contribute your time and talent to an activity you select.

CLICK HERE to register for an orientation session to learn about the organization and the multiple Committees that advance our mission. If you cannot find a time that works for you, contact Anne Daley at 516-455-2782, and she will find a time that fits into your schedule.

Support our Local Podcast!​

Don’t miss out on the conversation.

The Collier Democratic Roundup podcast dives into issues important to Collier County and to Florida. Find it at the bottom of the home page or on Spotify.

The podcast is produced by former DEC Vice Chair, Jeff Spencer, and he’s seeking volunteers. If you can help coordinate contacts and schedules, and/or if you can help with audio editing, please contact Jeff Spencer and help us keep the conversation going.

Also, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok (NEW!) Comment, like, and share in support of Democratic ideals every day!