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DeSantis tours Caloosahatchee to see blue-green algae problem

August 27, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Congressman and Republican candidate for Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, took a tour of the Caloosahatchee River Friday afternoon, along side Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello, members from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, to see how the blue-green algae has impacted residents first-hand.

DeSantis concluded his expedition at Rosen Park in Cape Coral, briefly speaking on what he feels needs to be done, as well as touching on who most people seem to pointing the finger at: Big Sugar.

"It's something that needs to be addressed both at the state and federal level," said DeSantis after his day on the water. "It affects the way of life for people in Florida, it affects the backbone of our economy, and I'm committed to making sure we fix the problem."

Article Photos

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis arrives at Rosen Park after his tour of the Caloosahatchee River. Photo by CJ Haddad

He continued to speak on his work as a congressman, citing his contribution to the approval of a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

"As governor, I'm going to have to go into the White House and say 'Hey, we need this thing on the front burner, we don't want to wait seven or eight years, we want to get it done as soon as possible,'" he said.

DeSantis said he is working with the Army Corps of Engineers on plans for the dry season, and potentially keeping the levels at Lake O down, so that discharges will be minimal or not necessary at all when it does rain.

"This is going to be a priority for me as the governor, because I want Florida to continue to have economic success. I'm not sure you can do it unless you deal with these environmental problems," said the gubernatorial candidate.

DeSantis went on to stake his claim as the only politician- democrat, republican or otherwise- willing to stand up to Big Sugar and who would be able to work with the federal government.

"A lot of these democrats, I mean they talk-how many of them have ever stood up against Big Sugar? I'm the only guy running, on either side of the aisle, that's ever been willing to do that," he said. "What I'm going to do is take the problems that I find, and I'm going to work to solve them. And I'm the best person situated to do that, because I'm the only person who would be able to work constructively with the federal government to deliver for Florida."

He traced his time involved in water-quality issues back to 2016, when Florida's Atlantic coast was faced with the same algal blooms Lee County and the Gulf Coast of Florida are facing this summer.

"I've been working on all of these projects in the Congress for several years now. I'm not new to this," he said. "I'm also somebody that's been willing to stand up against sugar subsidies. That's not an easy thing to do, because when you stand up, they bite at you."

He closed the short press conference touching on his political style, and the fact that residents of Florida, and those that come to visit the state, should be able to enjoy all of the environmental resources it has to offer.

"I'm more of a Teddy Roosevelt conservationist in that tradition," he said. "I am not a liberal-these democrats are liberals. And what they want is basically to do things not for people to enjoy the environment, they think people are a big problem. So I think this is something I want as part of Florida's way of life. I want people to enjoy the environment. It is the backbone of our economy and it needs to continue to be that way."

DeSantis will face off against fellow candidates Andrew Gillum (DEM), Gwen Graham (DEM), Chris King (DEM), Phillip Levine (DEM) Jeff Greene (DEM), Alex Lundmark (DEM), John Wetherbee (DEM), Don Baldauf (REP), Timothy Devine (REP), Bob Langford (REP), John Joseph Mercadante (REP), Bruce Nathan (REP), Bob White (REP) and Adam Putnam (REP).

Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj



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