Matt Caldwell is a 7th generation Florida native, whose family has a long history of being farmers, small business owners, ministers, and doctors.
Matt was born in Gainesville but grew up in Lee County where he eventually met his wife, Yvonne. They live in North Fort Myers, where Yvonne serves as a teacher and they raise their beautiful daughter, Ava.
After attending local schools in Lee County, Matt received his Associates Degree from Edison College and his Bachelor of Arts in History from Florida Gulf Coast University. He then began his career as a real estate appraiser with Maxwell, Hendry, & Simmons in Fort Myers. He has attained the highest state certification in his field and is qualified as an expert witness in multiple states and federal court.
As the son of a teacher and minister, Matt was taught very early on how important it is to give back to his community by being engaged locally and by serving in whatever capacity allows him to help others. Much of his formal service started in college when he volunteered for appointment to various governmental committees regarding financial oversight, audits, Everglades restoration, land use, and transportation, as well as the constitutional review of the Lee County Charter in 2008.
Matt’s desire to serve his community took him to Tallahassee when he was first elected to the Florida House in 2010. He has served on several committees during his tenure in the Florida House, including transportation, tax policy, redistricting, insurance, banking, and local government & federal government affairs. He has chaired subcommittees and committees related to agriculture and natural resources. He currently chairs the Government Accountability Committee, which oversees subcommittees regarding natural resources and public lands, transportation and infrastructure, local, federal, and military issues, & oversight of government operations, such as pensions & elections.
Matt is proud to have sponsored, and had the Governor sign into law, several pieces of legislation, including: The Andrew Widman Act, providing greater protection from career criminals; an act relating to Optometry, lowering the cost of, and increasing access to, medical eye care; as well as acts relating to pensions and term limits.
In addition, Matt has always been an advocate for the 2nd Amendment, cutting taxes, limiting the size and scope of government, and reducing or eliminating unnecessary regulations on business owners.
As an avid sportsmen with a deep family background in farming, Matt has always been a champion of issues that impact our environment and the agriculture community. He sponsored an expansion of the Everglades Forever Act, which will complete Everglades restoration in the area south of Lake Okeechobee, as well as Legacy Florida, which will permanently fund restoration of the greater Everglades; and fighting Numeric Nutrient Criteria.
In 2017, Matt championed an overhaul of the vaunted Florida Forever program, refocusing the program on land acquisition with a priority for conservation easements and permanent funding totaling roughly $3 billion dollars over 17 years.
Because of his desire to serve his community and the state he cares so much about, Matt has decided to seek higher office and run for Commissioner of Agriculture. He formalized his campaign in May of 2017 and is busy traveling the state and continuing to build a relationship with the greater Florida community.