Fort Myers Beach Mayor Larry Kiker received a surprise 60th birthday bash and light-hearted roast at Junkanoo on the Beach Thursday evening. Then he surprised his guests with an announcement.
Kiker has unofficially declared his 2012 candidacy for District 3 on the Lee County Board of County Commission. Although he has yet to file qualifying papers for candidacy, he is expected to join incumbent Ray Judah and San Carlos Island resident Charlie Whitehead on the ticket.
"I have intentions of running for County Commission," Kiker confirmed by phone on Monday. "I still have to qualify, and I intend to qualify for the race this week."
At his 60th birthday party, Beach Mayor Larry Kiker (l) announced he plans on running for County Commission. Circa 1996: Captain Kiker and first mate Greg Bryson, who claims he taught Kiker everything he knows about fishing, shared a laugh Thursday.
Kiker is currently in his second term as a member of the FMB Town Council. During his five years of Council service to the Town, he has been the mayor for four years after serving in the vice mayor capacity his first year.
District 3 covers the South Lee County and Fort Myers Beach area.
At his birthday party, a standing-room-only crowd in the establishment's sunset banquet room offered the mayor best wishes during the four-hour event.
Beverages, a buffett and good-nature ribbing surrounded the evening and involved some of Kiker's closest friends and business associates.
The roast included a poem from Harry Gottlieb, the appointed director of Beach sunsets; a scrap book presentation (which contained letters from state and local dignitaries) by Fran Myers; and a complimentary confession from Town Manager Terry Stewart.
""In my 42 years of local government service, you are the best Mayor I've worked for," he said.
Also attending the event was Rowdy Schenck, a friend of Kiker's since seventh grade, and some who remember the long-time Beach resident when he was a charter-fishing captain in the 1990s.
"It was a lot of fun. It was great to see my friends and family," said Kiker. "I was more overwhelmed than surprised by everybody being there. I feel blessed to live on Fort Myers Beach."