2022 General - Voter Guide Ranking

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T.J. McGowan

County Commissioner District 2 - REP

2022 Clean Water Questionnaire Responses

To read each question, answer and candidate comments click below.

  • Question 1 : Yes
    1) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finalizing the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), and while the plan should reduce harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, discharges will still occur when the level of the lake gets too high. Do you agree the Army Corps and the South Florida Water Management District must send more water south during the dry season in order to minimize the possibility of discharges and their impact on human health and the environment?
    Candidate Comment:

    The priorities laid out in the Central & S. Florida Project and the interpretation of those priorities by the US Army Corp of Engineers is outdated, hailing from decades past when Florida was a much different place. The impact of the discharges on the regular people who live near the St. Lucie river, Indian River lagoon and other affected waterways should not be considered less important just because they are not as politically powerful as big sugar interests. It’s time to take the human health component into greater account and this should be reflected in the language of LOSOM. USACE should have greater control over operations in order to bring this about.

  • Question 2 : Yes
    2) Florida is booming, with an estimated 1,000 people moving here every day. As a result, development is pushing growth further into Florida’s rural and natural areas, imperiling wildlife and natural resources like clean water. Will you oppose changes to your county’s Comprehensive Plan/Urban Development Boundary that would allow non-agricultural development in rural areas outside the urban, most densely developed area(s) in your county?
    Candidate Comment:

    Opposition to changes in Martin County’s Comp Plan regarding our Rural Land Use is one of, if not THE key issue on which I am running. We need county commissioners who have an Iron Clad will to defeat the efforts of big money developers to change the rules so they can make billions while ruining our natural environments and way of life. They just want to chip away at densities for profit. I stand for the people of Martin county who want to preserve what makes this such a wonderful place to live.

  • Question 3 : Yes
    3) State legislation, FDEP data and the Blue-Green Algae Task Force all report agriculture as the dominant source of phosphorus and nitrogen within most impaired watersheds of Florida. Do you agree industries and property owners should be held to clearly enforceable pollution standards and penalties; including mandatory adoption and verification of best management practices, and to implement inspection programs targeting septic, agriculture and industrial wastewater?
    Candidate Comment:

    No more special treatment for the Big Sugar lobby. They have profited from the rules at every turn. It’s time to hold them accountable and undo the grip they have on our state and local politics. The subsidies they have used to make money hand over fist should be dried up too. It’s driving up land costs and they keep making more and more profits due to the import restrictions and production controls driven by federal regulators. They sell it as “zero cost” but in reality they are passing the cost on to taxpayers in a different form: sugar prices artificially inflated to twice average global sugar prices. Then the big sugar companies turn around and use their profits to lobby even more!! It’s time the agricultural sector be held to enforceable standards for their pollution of our waters.

  • Question 4 : Yes
    4) Key water bodies along the Florida coast, including the Indian River Lagoon and Biscayne Bay, are plagued by excess nutrient pollution which kills seagrass. This in turn has led to increased turbidity and reduced habitat essential for fish, birds, marine mammals, and other marine species. If elected, would you support aggressive measures to address water quality problems, including (but not limited to) a mandatory septic inspection program, increased investment in septic-to-sewer conversions and upgrades to municipal sewage treatment facilities, increased stormwater pollution controls and tougher fertilizer restrictions coupled with strict enforcement?
    Candidate Comment:

    I am thrilled to see that the newly passed Northern Estuaries Restoration Plan allocating $100 million dollars to Martin, St. Lucie, and Palm Beach counties to improve infrastructure and get more and more people off septic and onto sewer. The county commission needs to lead by example and focus on solving this problem by giving those people and businesses who have failing septic systems an incentive to switch to sewer. At the end of the day it’s a question of money for all parties involved. Infrastructure is one of the highest priorities I am running on for county commission and when it comes to clean waterways the county needs to do its fair share to ensure we solve our water problem.

  • Question 5 : Yes
    5) 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?
    Candidate Comment:

    I have and will continue to promise NOT to accept any campaign contributions from anyone outside Martin County. The last people or organizations that I want money from are the big sugar or utility industries. I am here to fight on behalf of the regular people who live here, not giant corporate interests and outside interests. They have enough politicians in their back pockets. Why can’t we have elected officials that act with integrity on behalf of everyday citizens? Your principles from the beginning define your character and I am happy to renounce any support from Big Sugar or other outside corporate interests wishing to curry favor with the County Commission.