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Candidates discuss water issues in Cape Coral

Posted at 11:12 AM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 11:12:00-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- They want your vote, so we wanted to get them on the record about what they're going to do about our water problems plaguing Southwest Florida. But our cameras weren't allowed inside, and only one candidate went on the record with us.

Thursday night’s meeting in Cape Coral was hosted by the Republican Women of Cape Coral, and was a public event on Facebook to educate people on water issues.

But when we showed up, we weren't allowed inside, so we waited outside three hours.  State Representative Dane Eagle was the only one of the three candidates who agreed to talk.  Eagle has been in the Florida House for six years.

We asked him what he's done in the last six years about this water issue.  "This is a problem all of us inherited and none of us caused. Well before anyone of us were on this Earth, it started before then.  The question is, what can we do to work together and get this done?"

Eagle added he was able to pass the Legacy Florida Act in 2016.  It put $200 million towards Everglades restoration and laid the groundwork for building multiple reservoirs.

But when we asked when things will get done, he said it's going to be awhile.  "We're working on this issue day in and day out.  The problem is the fact that it's been there since before we got here, so we can't fix it overnight, unfortunately."

Eagle tells us he doesn't expect things to really improve for another one to five years.  

Representative Heather Fitzenhagen and Sanibel councilman Jason Maughan also attended, but did not go on camera.

The candidate challenging Representative Eagle is also weighing in. Alanis Garcia says: "We are dealing with the result of too many years of lax regulations. Sugar fields, improper fertilizer usage, dairy farm refuse, and septic tanks, along with other nutrient sources mixed with warmer temperatures, have resulted in this ecological disaster.  This year our economy will be hurt by the loss of tourism dollars.  Yet we will survive it.  What we can not survive is to allow this to continue to happen.”

The local doctor challenging Representative Fitzenhagen, Parisima Taeb, says in part: "Our lawmakers have consistently voted against our best interests in favor of special interest groups.  They created this nightmare because of their greed and selfishness.  Heather Fitzenhagen has voted against multiple important environmental protection bills, and water quality standard bills.  Her actions speak louder than her words. And her donations tell us who she is defending."