Naples Daily News
Kathleen Passidomo is hitting the ground running Wednesday after winning her second term to the Florida Senate representing Southwest Florida.
“There’s a lot we’ve got to do and as I move up the ladder there are things I want to get done,” said Passidomo, 65. “The longer you serve the more responsibility you have.”
A Republican first elected to the state Senate in 2016 and who previously served in the Florida House for six years, Passidomo won her Senate contest with 138,186 votes,or 65 percent, against challenger Annisa Karim, who collected 72,913 votes, or 35 percent, according to unofficial results as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Senate district covers Collier and parts of Lee and Hendry counties.
A longtime Naples resident and attorney before entering politics, Passidomo describes herself as a consensus builder able to work with Democratic colleagues in the Senate. She has championed as among her causes the elderly, financial abuse and guardianship reform.
Her top priorities with her re-election is to enhance funding for mental health assistance in the education system, and to prevent money being swept away from the state’s affordable housing trust funds. After her win, Passidomo said she is moving forward again with legislation on the affordable housing trust funds and she has an opioid bill in draft.
“I feel great,” she said. “I’m ready to go.”
She spent election evening at her home in Naples surrounded by friends, her Senate staff and law firm colleagues.
When it comes to the algae crisis in Southwest Florida, Passidomo told the Daily News the Everglades restoration project authorized years ago and delayed during the recession needs to get back on track. Another priority is addressing water quality and preventing treated septic tank effluent from seeping into the aquifer.
Karim, 44, who is a manager with Lee County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, ran on an environmental platform in part due to her expertise in wildlife ecology and conservation, and she backed an algae bloom task force.
She said the state is not doing enough to address the algae crisis, and Karim also supported reinstating the state Department of Community Affairs, according to her website.
Passidomo raised $428,000 for her campaign and spent $235,000, state election records show. Karim raised $49,000 and spent $32,000.