Our 2022 Voter Guides will help you identify clean-water candidates — and vote for them

At VoteWater, we believe that Florida’s imperiled waterways are ultimately a political problem — requiring a political solution.

That means better policies, which ultimately requires better politicians. Defending the status quo and the moneyed interests that benefit from it is the path to further ruin. During this year’s legislative session, some bills were passed — and others proposed — likely to inflict additional damage on our perpetually reeling waterways.

The attitude in Tallahassee seems to be: it’s fine. Our waters will be just fine.

They WON’T be fine. Not unless we demand strong, enforceable water laws in Florida.

And we need to identify and elect lawmakers who realize this — and who will stand up and make a difference at the local, state and national level.

To that end: Later this month VoteWater will issue its 2022 Primary Voter Guides. The guides, which you’ll be able to find on our website, VoteWater.org, will provide information about candidates in 15 Florida counties: Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough and Pinellas.

We surveyed county commission candidates, candidates for the state House and Senate, candidates for the U.S. Congress (House and Senate) and Florida’s candidates for Governor and Agriculture Commissioner. We asked tough questions about Florida’s water crisis, and what candidates propose to do about it.

We’ve also researched campaign finance and identified candidates who take money from special interests like the sugarcane, phosphate mining, utility and development/construction industries. Too often, Florida’s elected officials make decisions designed to benefit those interests — not the people, and not our fragile waters.

Ultimately, we ranked candidates on their clean-water bona fides, and endorsed candidates who have made or who vow to make clean water a governing priority.

Many of the races in the Aug. 23 primary have already been decided, as the Republican or Democratic candidates have no competitors. In several cases, the result of the November general election has already been decided, as candidates are running unopposed.

But where races are still up for grabs, our goal is to identify the best clean-water candidates; and beyond that, to compel all candidates to articulate their position on clean-water concerns — from the unfinished work of the state’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force to red tide, to water management issues with Lake Okeechobee and whether Florida regulators need to put more pressure on polluters across the board to clean up their act.

In a year when so many crucial issues hang in the balance, clean-water concerns might get short shrift. Candidates may be less inclined to pay attention to the health of our waterways.

But if we ignore or downplay Florida’s water problems, they’re bound to get worse.

So it is our goal to make sure they’re on the agenda. And in this, we could use your help.

Call or email your local elected officials and ask them if they’ve returned VoteWater’s survey. If not, why not?

VoteWater is a grassroots, volunteer-powered organization. We’re not beholden to any special interests. We’re creating these guides because we believe clean water is vital to the future of Florida.

If you can, please support our efforts by donating. Once the primary is done, we’ll pivot and retool our voter guides for the November general election. We’ll update our rankings and our “Dirty Money” scorecard; we may endorse different candidates in November as new information comes to light.

If we want clean and healthy waters, we need to elect candidates who’ll make it a priority.

We’ll identify them.

And then it’s up to you to vote for them.