Heather Fitzenhagen is a state representative covering the district that includes North Fort Myers. Like all state reps, she enters 2018 defending her seat, one of 75 Republicans who hold a dominant majority in Florida’s lower legislative chamber.
She also enters the 2018 electoral cycle claiming to be impressed, almost inspired even by new Bishop Verot running back Terry Lindsey, who arrives at the school after spending his first two seasons starring for North Fort Myers.
Lindsey is a star, without question. That’s apparently true on the field — where he broke through with enough highlights to earn scholarship offers from the likes of Cincinnati and Iowa State while still a sophomore — and in the classroom, where he arrives at Bishop Verot with a 3.4 GPA.
Both those things are fine and good. Lindsey is certainly a solid player. Still, its curious that Fitzenhagen would choose to make a public proclamation of support for a relatively random high school football star precisely as she ramps up for a re-election campaign. The entire public relations campaign began when Fitzenhagen sent a note congratulating Lindsey for being named one of South Florida’s Top 15 recruits, the Big 15, as ranked by our Gannett partners at the Fort Myers News-Press.
There’s no reason to believe that the quotes she gave to Florida NBC affiliate WBBH/WZVN aren’t genuine, though you can judge them for yourself:
“What I liked about Terry’s story is the fact that he’s so focused,” Fitzenhagen told WBBH. “A lot of people have talent in whatever area it is, but it’s the mental game that makes the difference.
“If Terry would like me to come, I’d be happy to come and cheer him on for a game this season.”
Of course Fitzenhagen will come to a game. It’s a brilliant way to earn free television time shortly before an election. She needs to keep her job after all.
The question is whether Lindsey has considered how Fitzenhagen may be benefitting by attaching herself to his own rising celebrity and exposure. Or whether he cares. Like most teens, he was understandably touched by Fitzenhagen’s initial comments.
We’ll all get to see what happens if the representative shows up at a Vikings game this season. Her first opportunity comes August 24, when Bishop Verot opens against fellow Florida Catholic school Cardinal Mooney.