LEESBURG — Although he's been meeting and talking with county citizens about the job for months now, David Cheshire, who has announced his candidacy for the Lee County Sheriff's office, will officially kick off his campaign Saturday at a rally.
Cheshirestepped down from his position as a first lieutenant with Lee Sheriff's Office this past Dec. 1, announcing a week later his intention to challenge his former boss, Sheriff Reggie Rachals, for the office Rachals has held since unseating longtime Sheriff Harold Breeden in 2008.
"We're going to put our platform out there (Saturday), let the people know our plans for the sheriff's office," Cheshire said Monday morning. "I don't want to tear (Rachals) down, but there are three areas I believe need to be addressed.
"I believe the sheriff must work within the means of the budget and be accountable for taxpayer money; I think better drug education must be made available, that we need to talk with our school kids rather than just handing out coloring books with 'Say No to Drugs' written on them, and I think we need to create a Sheriff's Citizens Academy that will get the public more involved with the sheriff's office."
Cheshire said one of the primary concerns he's heard while campaigning is that the sheriff's office has "forgotten the people of the county."
"I plan to treat every individual who lives in this county with the same passion, whether they're rich, poor, white, black, green or yellow," he said. "I plan to be available to the citizens of this county 24 hours a day, seven days a week."
Cheshire supporters have indicated Breeden plans to endorse the challenger.
In addition to talking about his platform, Cheshire and his campaign volunteers will feed those who attend the kickoff, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1104 U.S. Highway 19 South, adjacent to the Trailerland/A-1 Auto building.
Local singers Stephen Harrell and Faith Jackson will provide entertainment, while a number of activities are planned for children.
Qualifying for the sheriff's race and other county offices will start at noon May 23 and conclude at 5 p.m. May 25. Rachals has already announced his intention to seek re-election.