Protecting North Central Florida

North Central Florida is under attack. Developers are coming after our beautiful, relatively unspoiled land and waterways. We must roll up our sleeves and work together to protect our natural treasures. Saving what we have here will help mitigate the uncontrolled development that continues to consume some of the most ecologically sensitive areas of our state. 

 

There are already too many examples of the negative impacts of destructive development on Florida’s natural environment. Drinking water has to be piped across hundreds of miles. The destruction of Florida’s wetlands has been so massive that normal seasonal rainfall patterns have been altered. Algae blooms are sucking the oxygen out of our waterways, killing everything in them.

Uncontrolled Growth

Increasingly, many of us are experiencing significant negative changes caused by uncontrolled growth. This is especially true for locals who work the land. Too little rain, invasive plants and insects, saltwater intrusion, and natural limitations on humans’ ability to work outside in the increasingly hot and humid conditions already plague us. 

 

Folks who live in this part of the Sunshine State understand the importance of protecting what we love about the region.  Many local residents have roots going back several generations. They enjoy a historical connection to the land.  

 

For years, local governments have been prohibited from addressing local environmental problems because of the interference of the House District 22 incumbent and the lobbyists who fund his political career. Clearly, home rule and the democratic process do not register for them.  Saving Florida’s natural resources is nowhere on their current list of priorities, but rest assured it will be on mine. You can count on me to fight to preserve what we all love.

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Protecting the Suwannee River Basin

Protecting the Suwannee River basin will help protect our fragile freshwater resources. A South Florida model of urban development would do the opposite. If farmland and pastures are paved over, it will drive down our food production and cost us thousands of jobs. If we allow developers to continue destroying our green space, it will destroy our tourism economy. People come to our part of the state to experience our forests, farms, pastures, rivers, springs, lakes and wilderness areas; not to see our asphalt highways.

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What Can I Do Today?

So, what can we do to address these concerns right now? First, consider joining thousands of other Floridians in putting a ballot initiative to amend Florida's Constitution before the voters in November 2024 so We the People can decide whether to hold our state agencies accountable for harm to Florida's waters. 

 

Second, remind elected officials that less than three years ago, the M-CORES Task Forces firmly rejected very similar toll road proposals for this part of the state. In their reports, the Task Forces demanded real economic and traffic projection data to support the supposed “need” for any new road construction, and specified considerations for FDOT to include in the need determination process. They also required that FDOT stay completely out of any conservation lands with any new alignments, and included recommendations for incorporating wildlife crossings on any roads eventually built.

 

Finally, regardless of party affiliation, find out where candidates stand on these issues…and remember to vote!

No New Toll Roads

There is deep bipartisan resentment of the Florida Legislature’s endless proposals to pave rural North Central Florida with expensive and unnecessary toll roads. Many of the region’s more recent residents came here because they are attracted to our healthy lifestyle. Our ability to breathe clean air and hike in local forests is not just rejuvenating. It is the envy of the entire state.

 

Firm bipartisan opposition to toll roads in rural North Central Florida reinforces the importance I place on protecting the natural resources found in House District 22. The Southwest Florida Water Management District opposes every version of the proposed toll roads.

 

Even when 75% of Florida voters supported full funding for land preservation as a constitutional mandate, out-of-touch politicians and state government bureaucrats have ignored us. And ironically, Florida taxpayers are covering the legal defense of the Florida Legislature, which has been sued over this issue.

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