As the first Cape Coral native to be elected to the City Council, Jessica Cosden has represented District 7 focusing on issues that really matter to the residents of her hometown -- like increased funding for sidewalks and street lights, an emphasis on water quality, and economic development and recovery.
In addition to serving as Mayor Pro Tempore and Council Office Manager, Jessica sits on several local and regional boards and committees with a focus on transportation planning and environmental issues.
Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts from the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. She is currently completing her Master of Public Administration. She works in nonprofit administration.
Outside of government, Jessica is a vocal advocate for families with special needs children. Her passion is music; she plays keys for local band Exploding Pages. She has three beautiful children: Hannah, 9; Jacob, 8; and baby Emmet. Her husband, Dan, is an Army combat veteran.
Water Quality & Quantity
Protect our water — the reason many of us came to, and now love, Cape Coral.
Cape Coral was the first city in the nation to create a citywide dual water system for potable and nonpotable water. To support this system during dry seasons, during my term on Council the City secured 3 sources for canal enrichment and irrigation water: a pipeline from Florida Governmental Utility Authority to convert their wastewater (which would otherwise have gone into a deep injection well in close proximity to the aquifer, threatening our own water supply); a pipeline across the river from Fort Myers (preventing them from dumping millions of gallons of effluent wastewater into the Caloosahatchee River); and an innovative flow-way between the Southwest Aggregates reservoir in Charlotte County and the north Cape Coral canal system. In fact, in 2017 I was at the hearing in Tallahassee lobbying in support of the reservoir project. Although Cape Coral leads the way in many water quantity issues, we saw that we are not immune to water quality issues when we were hit by the blue-green algae crisis of 2018. During that outbreak, I urged Council to demand assistance and research from the state Department of Health. Earlier this year, the DOH did move forward and fund research on the impacts of blue green algae on public health right here in Cape Coral. We also identified multiple testable solutions for future outbreaks, including bubble curtains, booms, and other environmentally sound experimental methods. However, our work is nowhere near done. The issue lies largely in the quality and quantity of water being released from Lake Okeechobee. To that end, we must continue to lobby our county, state, and federal leaders to support policy changes and funding that focus on both quality and quantity.
Economic Growth & Recovery
Protect our local economy and maintain economic growth, even during uncertainty due to COVID-19.
While we enjoyed a period of rapid economic growth for several years, especially in Northeast Cape Coral (District 7), we are now entering an unprecedented time for the world economy. The city needs experienced leadership through the coming months, as tough decisions will inevitably need to be made. Cape Coral will also continue to confront its 92% residential to 8% business tax base. This ratio must change in order to shift the tax burden off of the homeowners of Cape Coral. The Economic Development Office is a crucial part of this mission, with a banner year in 2019. I will continue to support its work to attract businesses to Cape Coral.
There's a reason everybody wants to live in Cape Coral! But with growth comes challenges.
Cape Coral is part of one of the fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas in the country, according to US Census data released last year. We are only about 50% built out, and we have the opportunity today to shape what our city will look like at full build-out. During my first term, I fought for additional funding for sidewalks and streetlights during every year's budget cycle. Growth must pay for growth, which means that developers must also be held accountable to mitigate their impacts on traffic and infrastructure. A 2019 study revealed that Cape Coral is not keeping up with the demand for multi-family housing, indicating that we will need at least 1,500 additional units each year between 2019 and 2022 to keep up. Those who need it the most -- teachers, first responders, and other essential workers -- deserve to live where they work.
Continued engagement with the public by seeking and listening to public input, assisting residents, and conducting regular town hall meetings.
Since my election in 2015, I have held many town hall meetings with the residents of Cape Coral and also with specific communities in District 7. I have always been responsive to citizen emails and phone calls, resolving many issues -- from trash pickup, to neighbor disputes, to business permitting issues. In my second term, I will continue to be as engaged and responsive.
Assignments, Boards, and Committees
- Mayor Pro Tempore
- Council Office Manager
- Member - Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)
- Member - Lee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
- Chair - Lee County MPO Local Coordinating Board for Transportation Disadvantaged
- Member - Florida League of Cities (FLC)
- Member - National League of Cities (NLC)
- Member - Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Program Advisory Board
- Chair - Cape Coral Charter School Authority Governing Board, 2015 to 2017
- Member - Florida League of Cities Finance, Taxation, & Personnel Committee, 2016
- Bachelor of Arts, Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University, 2006
- Master of Public Administration, in progress
- 2015, News Press Public Official of the Year (Cape Coral City Council) nominee
- 2019, Communicator Award, Award of Distinction for Cape Connect infomercial
- Literacy Buddies, Early Learning Coalition of SWFL, 2015 - current
- Community Emergency Response Team, 2011
- Foster home, Lee County Animal Services, 2008 - 2010
Contact Jessica: email@example.com