Meet Sanibel City Council Candidate Holly D. Smith

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following has been provided by Holly D. Smith, who is running for re-election March 7. She is among four candidates running for two open seats on Sanibel City Council. All the candidates will be speaking at a forum from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at BIG Arts, 900 Dunlop Rd., hosted by the League of Women Voters-Sanibel. 

Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith

My local community and business commitment spans nearly 35 years here in Lee County, Regionally, as well as at the State and Federal Levels.

Local Public Service:

• I was appointed Mayor of Sanibel in March of 2021 and  reappointed unanimously in April of 2022. I have been on the City Council since December of 2017, holding the positions of Councilwoman and Vice Mayor prior to my appointment as Mayor.

• I currently serve as Council’s liaison to the Planning Commission, and as liaison to Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

• I previously served as the liaison to the Contractor Review Board, the Sanibel Bike Club, Community Housing Resources, Inc. (CHR) and the (CHR) Coast & Island Community Land Trust. (Non-profit affordable below market rate housing initiative on Sanibel)

• Prior to my position on council, I served as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Sanibel for nearly a decade. My professional background as a Certified Real Estate Appraiser working exclusively on Sanibel and Captiva for over a decade was a great benefit serving in this position, as I had a in-depth understanding for the Sanibel Plan and Codes required when preparing appraisals for both residential and commercial purposes.

• I was recently appointed as the President of the Lee County Horizon Foundation, and am the immediate past Chair of the Lee County Horizon Council (The Voice of Business In Lee County). This is the only Public-Private advisory group which partners with the Lee County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

• I was appointed by the BOCC and serve as a member of the Lee County Tourist Development Council (TDC), which advises the BOCC on bed tax revenue use in various regulated areas. I sit on the Beach and Shoreline committee, as well as the Attraction and Marketing Committee which advises on funding requests and allocation for bed tax dollars. As an owner/operator of hotel properties in Lee County, my expertise in the hospitality industry has helped me to speak to and bring back dollars to Sanibel through TDC requests. I have been the TDC representative in the 2 rotations for the City since my time on council. Its important to be able to understand the hospitality (hotel) industry which is the collector of the “bed tax” for the County.

• I have been very active in our local Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida League of Cities since coming on to Council. I presently serve on the Executive Committee holding the position of Vice President and I look forward to the succession to President in a few months.

• I am a member of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Locally I am a member of the Sanibel Captiva Business Woman’s Association, which has seen strong growth over the past year.

Florida League of Cities and Florida League of Mayors:

• I am extremely proud of my work with the Florida League of Cities and the Florida League of Mayors. My involvement with the league has been invaluable in building relationships and learning how to be an effective advocate for our city legislatively.

• I was honored to be appointed by President Phillip Walker to serve as the 2021- 2022 Chair for the Florida League of Cities Advocacy Committee. In 2021, I was appointed by Immediate Past President Tony Ortiz to serve on The Florida Municipal Loan Council which I continue to serve on.

• I have been serving on the Municipal Administration Policy Committee since 2018. I sit on both the Federal Action Strike Taskforce and the Advocacy Committee with the League. I have been a part of the Washington DC League Fly ins and have traveled to Tallahassee many times for advocacy as needed speaking with our legislators as well as speaking before both the House and Senate Committees.

• I serve as the Sanibel voting delegate for the Florida League of Cities and member at large for the FLC Legislative Committee

• In 2021, I was appointed to a 2-year term to serve as an “at large” member for the League of Mayors Board of Directors.

• I am a member the Southwest Florida Coalition of Mayors, Member of the United States Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities Voting Delegate for Sanibel.

• I am humbled and honored to have been recognized by The Florida League of Cities as a “Home Rule Hero” Award recipient for the past 5 consecutive years.

• I have attended and greatly benefited from The Institute for Elected Officials (I and II) and Leadership Academy (I and II).

• I travel around the state, to our state capital in Tallahassee and Washington DC for local, regional, State and Federal advocacy efforts which impact the quality of lives and livelihood on Sanibel, Southwest Florida , and throughout Florida .

Professional Background:
I am a hotelier in Southwest Florida. My husband Jason and I own and operate 2 hotel properties In Lee County.

I’ve been married to my husband Jason for 36 years. We have two grown sons, Zane Joshua, 27, living and working here in Lee County and Peyton Clay, 25, who lives and works in Denver Colorado. Both boys attended the Sanibel School and grew up on Sanibel. Jason, Peyton and I formally welcomed Savannah Phillips into our family on February 11 of this year when she wed our eldest son Zane. We are the very proud pup parents of 2 Vizslas – Birdie and Murphy.

Free Time:
My passion is being on the water. My husband and I are avid fishermen both inshore and offshore.
You will also find me volunteering for numerous non-profits on Sanibel and in Fort Myers as I have been for over 30 years.

Leave a Comment

We are interested in articulate, well-informed remarks that are relevant to the article. We welcome your advice, your criticism and your unique insights into the issues of the day. To be approved for publication, your comments should be civil and avoid name-calling. It may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear, if it is approved.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.