Our County. Our Future!


Karen Watson

For Lee County Commissioner District 2


Karen Watson

For Lee County Commissioner District 2

Our County. Our Future!

Why I am running for Lee County Commission District 2

I have lived in Lee County since 1968 and love the paradise of the past and want to make it better in the future. The people of Lee County are concerned with the fact that we have one-party rule and that if I had not stepped forward, voters would not have a choice in candidates. My opponent’s name would not have appeared on the ballot. This is an opportunity for voters to put our county on the right track by writing in my name: Karen Watson. I want to see Lee County healthy and thriving. Our county deserves a CHANGE after 11 years of the same  Commissioner.

Karen Watson for Lee County Commisioner District 2 sign

Fresh Perspective

You are the "on-the-ground" people who know what you want and need from our county government. As the newest Commissioner, I will offer a fresh pair of eyes and an expansive vision. I will be in the "why not?" mode, rather than "why?" mode.

Trust & Accountability

Lee County deserves a ​Commissioner who is trusted and accountable.​ Once elected, I will embark on a listening tour to all neighborhoods in Lee County to hear from residents about their concerns and their suggestions for improvement.


As your Public Servant, my door will always be open and my first priority will be advocating on behalf of all citizens of Lee County. I will not be governed or influenced by the special interests who are financing the campaigns of others. 

How to vote for a write-in candidate

Sample Ballot showing how to write in Karen Watson for Lee County Commission District 2

Here's how to vote for me for Lee County Commission District 2 in the upcoming election.

  1. When you get your ballot, go to the section: Board of County Commissioners District 2. There will be one candidate listed and then a blank line that says "Write-In" underneath it.
  2. On the write-in line, write Karen Watson. You need to print my name neatly so officials can read it.
  3.  Fill in the bubble next to where you wrote my name. This is an important step! If you do not fill in the bubble, your vote is invalid.

If you have any questions, ask any poll worker nearby.


Women For a Better Lee

Why are we endorsing write-in candidates?
Indeed, they are long shots.  Then again, we have never shied away from the heavy lift.  But the answer is simple:  we want to preserve democracy in Lee County by giving voters a choice.
Imagine our shock to learn that the name of an unopposed county commission candidate does not even appear on the ballot -- and that a blank line allowing voters to write in another name requires individuals to qualify with the Supervisor of Elections as write-in candidates.  While this is not unique to our county, the reality in Lee County is that the two incumbent county commissioners running for reelection would win by acclamation without even a single vote being cast in their favor.
Luckily for all of us, two citizens stepped up to run – Karen Watson in District 2 and Jim Sheets in District 4.  Neither of these write-in candidates represents a political party -- nor are politicians, for that matter.  But both know that it is important for them to reflect the needs and concerns of the people of Lee County and will do so should they be elected to our County Commission.  And remember, commissioners are elected at large; you just need to live in Lee County, not a specific district to cast your vote.
Both are running because they care deeply for our community and because they strongly believe that you cannot have democracy if candidates are going to walk into office by acclamation without voters even having a choice.
Women For a Better Lee has been tracking the actions and policies of the two incumbents, Brian Hamman and Cecil Pendergrass, for almost four years.  It is widely known what we think of these two men -- their coziness with special interests, their overwhelming reliance on campaign donations from developers, their disdain for public participation, their lack of transparency and vision.  If Lee County is to grow and its residents to thrive, we need elected officials who are less focused on destroying wetlands and more willing to listen and act in the interest of citizens.
Women For a Better Lee is proud to endorse Karen Watson and Jim Sheets for election to the Lee Board of County Commissioners and encourages voters to remember their names.  In this election you will have to Write to be Heard to send a message to our commissioners and make your vote count!  It is important that Lee residents learn their names.  If you can help spread the word, let us know at [email protected]

KAREN WATSON -- District 2

If someone were to set out the ideal qualifications for county commissioner, it would likely contain the type of communication, leadership and management skills that Karen possesses. She ran a nonprofit for nearly 10 years, managing programs, employees and a budget, taught in the Lee County schools for 22 years, and interacts regularly with a variety of people and organizations as a medical social worker at Lee Health. She knows how to communicate effectively with a governing board, as well as the general public. She has experience dealing with governmental regulations, grants and creating a vision to meet the needs of those she serves.
While Karen has considerable skills and experience, it is her community connection that is most compelling. A lifelong Fort Myers resident, Karen’s background includes jobs and experiences that ensure she stays in touch with the needs of the people. Her volunteer efforts are impressive. She does not sit on organizations' boards just to add them to her resume. She has helped create programs that provide for people who are often overlooked, including young single moms and girls in under-served areas.  Of special note is her role in co-founding Impact Dunbar, an innovative program through Collaboratory that mentors and guides women and children in Dunbar.
Karen Watson is an energetic, community-oriented woman with excellent credentials. She is familiar with the problems of the community, and the strengths of the people she will represent. She sees the need for, and can provide the long-term planning Lee County requires. She can work with all stakeholders to create a vision that allows for growth, but takes into account resources as well as the concerns of residents.
“The County Commission doesn't look like our county,” said Karen Watson, setting out one of the reasons she decided to run for county commissioner.  Her willingness to challenge the status quo in Lee County is admirable and to be celebrated.  Visit Karen's website for more information.

Women For a Better Lee is a nonpartisan, all-volunteer political action committee working to bring accountability and transparency to our Lee County Commission and government.  WFBLPAC is not authorized by any candidate or any candidate's committee and donations are not tax deductible.

Women for Better Lee Logo

About Me

Karen Watson

I was raised in Fort Myers, FL and love the paradise it was. I am married to Fred Watson and have two adult daughters and four grandchildren.

Professional Experience

  • Medical Social Worker at Lee Health, July 2021 to present
  • Executive Director of Our Mother’s Home of Southwest FL Inc., June 2011 to August 2020. Also served 1 year as Vice President and 1 ½ years as President.
  • Program Manager of St. Vincent DePaul CARES, December 2020 to July 2021
  • Worked 22 years for the School District of Lee County teaching Head Start, working with pregnant moms, infants and toddlers.
  • For 10 years, I was devoted to modeling best practices, providing resources, advocating for moms and children 0-3 years and teaching moms to be their child’s first best teacher while providing tutoring and operating a Family Home Child Care.

Community Involvement

  • Served as Health Chairperson for The National Association for Advancement of Colored People
  • Volunteer for Red Cross
  • Mentored single young mothers at Footsteps to the Future.
  • Founded Impact Dunbar, an initiative to impact women and children in the Dunbar Community through the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, 2016
  • Served from 2017 to 2019 on the Curriculum Advisory Committee of the School District of Lee County, Florida Southwestern University Human Service Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of RICO (Redeeming Influence Community Outreach) and Center for Progress and Excellence.
  • Currently serving as Chairperson for After the Rain of Southwest FL Inc. and Progressive Women of Southwest FL Inc.
Karen Watson Headshot

Awards & Recognition

  • Golden Baby Shoe Award for helping give babies a healthy start in life, 2015
  • Recognized as an Excellent Administrative Professional and FGCU Soaring Eagle, 2016
  • Recognized as one of Southwest Florida 25 Top Most Influential Diverse Persons by Cape Coral Community Foundation, 2018
  • Named one of Top 20 Fundraising Professionals in Southwest Florida by News-Press, 2018
  • Featured in several magazines such as E’Bella, Pinnacle of FGCU, Gulfshore Life Parent, and Child and Grandeur.


  • Master’s degree in Social Work
  • Child Development Associate Degree and Director’s Credential
  • Graduate of The Greater Fort Myers Chamber Leadership, 2012

Help My Campaign

Become a volunteer

Help my campaign with activities such as posting signs at poll sites and designated sites, attend events and provide information and solicit donations and support me at the poll on election day, November 8, 2022 with signs.

Volunteer, Karen Watson

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Key Issues Facing Lee County

I am a long-time resident of Lee County and I know that citizens have many concerns ranging from water quality to affordable housing to a lack of governmental transparency. These are just some of the issues I intend to address. Not only will I draw upon my own knowledge and experience but also rely on subject matter experts and Lee residents.

Everyone wants water quality and says that we need to take aggressive steps to ensure that not only do we solve the problem of blue-green algae, but that we also have plentiful and safe drinking water.   

I’m for responsible development that respects people’s concerns, unlike my opponent who votes for just about every development that comes before him, without taking into consideration residents’ wishes. 

This is an issue that my opponent in his years on the BoCC has failed to address and now we are in a crisis because we do not have enough affordable housing for our expanding workforce. 

Karen Watson for Lee County Commisioner District 2 sign

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