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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 estuaries.

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 Comprehensive Plan.

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 Council.

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 different.

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 laws. 

I don't 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.

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