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State rep. opens office in Marinatown

January 24, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

State Rep. Spencer Roach looked long and hard for a place to put his office in the 79th District.

In the end, he chose to put it in Marinatown in North Fort Myers.

Roach, a Republican, opened the office two weeks ago and plans to hold an open house as soon as all the furniture and phones are put in and everything is operational. A date for the open house has not been announced.

"We looked high and low throughout the district. We get a certain amount of money to fund the office, and it's not a whole lot," Roach said. "It was challenging to find the office space. We looked for retail space but that was too expensive."

Roach looked in Lehigh Acres, but it was too expensive. He narrowed it down to Marinatown and the Shell Factory, with Marinatown being a little more affordable and more centrally located for constituents.

The state gives representatives $2,400 per month to run the office, which doesn't go very far in this area when you consider rent, utilities, travel to and from Tallahassee and office supplies. To save money, former state representative Matt Caldwell had his office at Mosquito Control in Buckingham.

Roach also will have two staffers, who are paid from a different fund. One will go to Tallahassee with him while the other staffs the office at Marinatown.

"The funny part is the legislator position is considered a part-time job, but my staff members are full-time and get paid more than the legislator," Roach said. "That's the same for every legislator in the state. I have a full-time job with part -time pay."

Roach said he plans to have a mobile office in Lehigh Acres, Buckingham and Alva to make sure they are in the community and available if people have a need. Former state senator Denise Grimsley did something similar at the Shell Factory.

"We're going to be out and about as much as possible. I always say you can't administer your district if you're not out in it," Roach said. "You don't know what's going on by sitting behind a desk."



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