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Local political candidates respond to vote water ratings

Posted at 12:36 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 12:36:35-04

LEE COUNTY, FLA — Florida's primary election is coming up fast. And here at FOX 4, we're making sure you are getting a chance to know the candidates that are running and what they stand for.

In Florida, water quality is a hot topic, and many people want to know what candidates are planning on doing to help the issues we're facing.

The water activist organization BullSugar.org put together what they call a "Clean Water Voter Guide." Candidates running for office in the coastal areas responded to a survey on five major issues facing water quality.

You can see candidates' responses to the questions as well as any comments explaining why they chose their answer. The candidates received ratings with one to three checkmarks, three being the best. If a candidate is opposed, there will be a red circle with a line through it for their rating.

FOX 4 took a look at how some of our local political candidates are rated and what they had to say about it. You can click on each candidate's name in this article to see their answers to the questions.

David Holden is a candidate for Congress in Florida's 19th district, covering Lee County. He gets the Bullsugar endorsement.

"I think that Vote Water looked at my record," Holden said. "They looked at my consistent advocacy for these issues and felt that I was the best candidate to carry Congressman Rooney's legacy forward."

Holden says water quality is a top priority, and Vote Water gets it. He also says we have to have leaders who are willing to not just talk about environmental issues but bring it home as policy.

Jason Maughan is a republican candidate for House District 76 covering Lee County. He also earned an endorsement from Bullsugar.

" I was very proud that out of the three candidates both on the Democrat side and the Republican primary side that I was the only one that received the three checkmarks for endorsed," Maughan said.

He says you have to show a solid commitment to fighting for clean water in your personal, professional, and political life.

Anselm Weber is also a candidate in this race. He only received one checkmark in the vote water guide. A rating Weber found a little disheartening. He also feels it doesn't paint the full picture of a candidate.

"There's a term that people use it's called greenwashing that a lot of people use. It's giving cover," Weber says. "It tells voters these people are for clean water. However, they're not really examining their record; they're not examining their agenda; they're not examining what will happen if they become in power."

Weber says he thinks there are good intentions behind what Vote Water is doing, but hopes voters will look at other environmental groups as well.

And so does Rachel Brown. She's a democratic candidate in Lee County running for the District 27th State Senate seat. Brown has two checkmarks in the Vote Water guide. But she also feels like it was rushed and wants to see why each candidate received their ratings.

"I think that it's really our of fear," Brown said. " We're voting based on who we are afraid of winning even though the other options are really not much better at all."

And the final candidate we will take a look at is Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann. He's running again for district 5. He received two checkmarks, and he's happy about it.

"I'm always pleased to have the support of any groups whose main interest is clean water for now and for the future," Mann said. "So, this is valuable to any candidate, and I'm very pleased to receive their backing."

And as a candidate, he tries to fill out every questionnaire that comes his way, especially those about the environment.

Remember, there are many more candidates who received ratings for their environmental record. You can check them all out on VoteWater.org.

Key Dates and Deadlines in Florida

Tues, Nov. 3: In-Person Voting
Fri, Nov. 13: Absentee/Mail-In Delivered By Date