Florida House District 99 - DEM
2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking
Florida House District 99 - DEM
2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses
To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.
- Question 1 : Yes1) In response to blue-green algae blooms on Florida's east coast and red tide on the west coast, the State created the Blue-Green Algae and Harmful Algal Bloom/Red Tide Task Forces to study the problem and propose solutions. But only a few of the task forces' recommendations have been adopted. Do you support full implementation of all task force recommendations, including verification/testing of agricultural Best Management Practices and requiring the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to adopt EPA guidelines for blue-green algae toxins as new water quality standards in Florida?
- Question 2 : Yes2) The degradation of water quality throughout Florida has in turn led to a significant decline in seagrass, the primary food source for manatees. Starvation became the leading cause of manatee deaths in 2021 and continues today. Despite this, in 2022 the Florida Legislature passed measures which could actually increase nutrient pollution in our waters, and debated a seagrass "mitigation banking" bill that some experts believe could cause a further decline in seagrass. If elected, will you vote against all legislative proposals that could add to the nutrient load in our waters or which in any way could inflict further harm on our seagrasses?
Without hesitation. During my short time in office I have always voted as an environmentalist, focusing on legislation that will allow us to mitigate and fight the effects of climate change while also pursuing legislation that allows for marginalized communities to benefit from this transition from non-sustainable practices and markets to an eco-friendly society. In fact, this was one of the biggest reasons why I opposed the Net Metering Bill in Session this year, because it would have made it even harder for marginalized communities to buy in and benefit from the solar industry. If re-elected I would oppose any legislation that could even marginally add to the nutrient load in our waters, and in fact would love to pro-actively work with key organizations and researchers to understand what else we could be doing or what policies we could be proposing. Florida's nature and wildlife is central to who we are as a state, and it is imperative that we act accordingly in protecting the beauty, sanctity, and prosperity of our landscape.
- Question 3 : Yes3) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Task Force all report that agriculture is the dominant source of phosphorus and nitrogen within impaired watersheds in Florida. Yet the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ best management practices (BMP) program remains voluntary, BMPs have never been field verified to reduce pollution, the state does little to no testing to verify compliance and agricultural producers enrolled in BMPs are afforded the "presumption of compliance." Do you agree industries and property owners should be held to enforceable pollution standards; that BMPs should be mandatory; that the "presumption of compliance" should end and regulators should implement systemic inspection/testing programs?
There should absolutely be regular/systemic inspection and testing programs across the state. At this point in time absolutely no one should be afforded the "presumption of compliance." The environmental state of our world is at a critical breaking point, so just assuming everyone is compliant is not nearly enough. Industry and property owners should be properly regulated and BMPs should be mandatory, otherwise what is the point of these task forces, studies, and data? If we are not following through and holding relevant stakeholders accountable to the best management practices that data shows is best for sustainability, then it is all just for show and a waste of taxpayers' money.
- Question 4 : Yes4) Currently, Florida's largest water users are allowed to extract millions of gallons of water each day without paying anything to the state for the use of our most precious natural resource. Over-pumping has harmed Florida's springs, rivers, estuaries and aquifers and cost Florida taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Do you support a reasonable fee on permitted water withdrawals to offset the damage caused by over-pumping?
Our state must be operating and moving towards a sustainable business model, and with a reasonable fee on permitted water withdrawals the state can generate funds to allocate to other efforts to mitigate the increasing amount of damage that over-pumping has caused all Floridians.
- Question 5 : No5) Special interests in Florida spend lavishly to influence elections at the local, state and federal level. The sugar industry, phosphate mining industry and big utilities, among others, spend millions to aid candidates who then back their preferred legislation - too often, at the expense of clean water. Do you agree your campaign will accept no contributions from any source with ties to polluting industries including, but not limited to, the sugar, phosphate and utility industries?
Contributing to campaigns, as per our Constitution, is a form a political and personal expression. Therefore, I will not deny any contributions from sources with ties to these industries. However, given my voting record and how I approach my office, my legislative decisions will only be made off the science and data being collected and what is best for the constituency I have the honor of representing. I am not a politician, I am a statesman which means that my priorities and concerns lie with fighting for my community and their needs. If you look at my voting record, I vote as an environmentalist and that is public record. If someone with ties to these industries decides to give contributions to my campaign knowing that record, then that is their decision but it will not change the away I approach my legislative decisions.
Absolutely. The state created the Blue-Green Algae and Harmful Algal Bloom/Red Tide Task Force because there was and is an urgent need for us to address all the damages and changes that climate change has brought on our waters. This task force is comprised of experts in the field who provide recommendations (based on data, tests, and science) to us, and as policymakers it is our mandate that we fully support the implementation of all task force recommendations because that makes us good statesmen/stateswomen and stewards of our global community. Florida is on the frontlines of climate change, and as is the case in many if not all cases, minority and marginalized communities will be the first to suffer immense damages if we do not immediately mitigate the various effects of climate change.