Florida primary 2022: Our Voter Guide will help you elect clean-water candidates

So. Tuesday, Aug. 23 is the Florida Primary Election.

Who are you voting for? Which candidates can be trusted to advocate on behalf of clean water — and which have taken “dirty money” from polluters?

Don’t know the answers? Relax, we’ve got you covered.

In late July VoteWater issued our Florida Primary Voter Guide, available at VoteWater.org/voter-guides. We ranked candidates at the federal, state and county commission level in 15 key Florida counties (Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Sarasota and St. Lucie).

Our rankings were based on their answers to our clean-water survey; whether they took money from polluting industries like Big Sugar (and how much); their voting record (for incumbents), the extent to which they emphasized clean-water issues on the campaign trail and more.

The result: We endorsed more than a dozen candidates across Florida, “supported” (two checks) or “favored” (one check) many more — and outright opposed others. And where it was impossible to issue a legitimate ranking — where candidates failed to return our survey, where we had little to go on but campaign promises — we issued no rating.

If you don’t see a particular candidate listed, it’s because that candidate’s name will not appear on your local Aug. 23 ballot, as they had no competition in the primary.

Our goal was first and foremost to provide a resource for conservation-minded voters to consider before making their primary choices. This election season there are a lot of major issues competing for attention; and with no full-blown water crises on the radar screen (local warnings about blue-green algae in various Florida communities notwithstanding), it would be easy for clean-water concern to be pushed to the back burner this year.

We can’t let that happen.

If we don’t vote for clean water now – if we don’t support candidates who’ll stand up to the special interests, vote for solutions and against legislation that adds to our problems – our problems will intensify down the road.

Clean water shouldn’t be a political issue; it’s a necessity for life. It’s a key to Florida’s tourism economy and to local economies across the state. Our waterways are symbolic and iconic.

And their degradation comes as a result of political decisions and political inaction. Industries that stand in the way of cleaner water influence political outcomes with their dirty campaign cash. Elected officials shy away from tough decisions that might rile special interests.

Our water crisis is a political problem, and requires a political solution.

So this Tuesday, check our voter guide, and vote for clean-water candidates. And consider supporting our efforts with a donation that will help us retool the guides for the November general election.

In Florida, ours is an uphill battle. But with your help, it’s a fight we can win.