I ran for office in order to insure that the qualities of life
considered most important in our community are given top priority by
our local government.
Shortly after my election in 2002 I traveled to Washington, D.C. with
former County Commissioner Maggy Hurchalla to try and resuscitate the
moribund Indian River Lagoon Plan, the first component of the
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. Our previous County
Commission had ignored this $2 billion project to clean up our local
I continued to apply constant pressure at all opportunities to bring
this worthy project back to life and, with the help of many
environmental organizations, concerned citizens and other elected
officials, this essential project made it back to the front burner and
was authorized into federal law in November 2007. We received our first
federal funding for the Indian River Lagoon in 2010. We received more
federal monies for the C-44 reservoir and stormwater treatment areas in
this year's Congressional budget. I will continue to work diligently until all of the Indian
River Lagoon Plan and Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan projects are completed.
Martin County's rivers and estuaries, Lake Okeechobee on our western
shore and the Atlantic Ocean on our east coast are central to our
lifestyles and economy. In the efforts to help restore and protect
these waters I am involved in many committees and organizations, and I
have attended nearly every conference in Florida on the subject.
I received the 2005 Public Service Award from the Martin County
Conservation Alliance for outstanding leadership and dedication to
protect the Indian River Lagoon and uphold the Martin County
I served three years as the President of the Loxahatchee River
Coordinating Council and was Martin County's representative on the Nine
County Coalition (the nine counties surrounding Lake Okeechobee) for 12 years.
Additionally, I served as a Board member of the Marine Resources
Since taking office, over 35,000 acres of land have been purchased in
Martin County for river restoration and habitat preservation.
Restoration and protection of our environment has always been my first
priority, and I regard the public's ownership of conservation lands as
one of my greatest accomplishments.
Our Comprehensive Plan is our local Constitution. It contains the
goals, objectives, and policies that determine how and where we grow in
Martin County. It is where we mandate our 4 story height limit and
strong urban boundaries and high quality parks and libraries and fiscal
policies that save us tax dollars. It is where we protect
neighborhoods and create a level playing field for businesses to
flourish. If you moved to Martin County because it's different from all
of the rest of south Florida, know that our Comprehensive Plan makes it
The Comprehensive Plan can be amended. There are certainly
instances when an amendment is in order. But, that action is also
why south Florida looks the way it does. Remember that
Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties weren't always
overdeveloped. First, a County Commission majority had to vote to
amend their Comprehensive Plans to allow the increases in density and
intensity that now characterize those counties.
From 2000 to 2012, the Martin County Commission majority was
pro-development and they stripped away so many of the protections in
our Comprehensive Plan, the protections that we revere, the protections
that make us different. I voted against those weakened
want to stop growth, but I do want to make sure that as we develop we
do it well. As we develop, we should take every measure to
protect our existing neighborhoods. We must do a far better job
of protecting our rivers and estuaries.
I will continue to meet and exceed the expectations of our residents
to provide an exceptional quality of life here.