While I’m a multi-issue voter – I care about whether or not my duly elected representative likes puppies, babies, AND Mom’s apple pie, for instance – there’s two issues that will make or break my support for a candidate: marine conservation and climate change. In Arizona, we’re upstream from ocean, so what we do here filters down into the Blue Eternal, and in Florida – well, Florida will literally live or die on the health of the oceans and the level of the sea. For my ocean adjacent home state of Florida, and the land-locked desert I now call home, I’ve decided to try to determine, in four races, who is the ocean hero who I can support, and hope, as a salt-water enthusiast, you will similarly support.
Those races will be Arizona’s and Florida’s gubernatorial and senatorial races, and I’m going to be honest with you – I don’t know what I’ll find. I know next to nothing about Florida gubernatorial Democratic candidates Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, and while I like Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, and have a fair amount of animus towards current Florida governor and Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott, I’ve never gotten into the nuts and bolts if their records on ocean policy and climate change. For Arizona, same thing with current Republican governor Doug Ducey, and Democratic candidate David Garcia. For Arizona, I’m actually fairly antagonistic towards Democratic Representative Kyrsten Sinema, and I don’t care much for Republican Representative Martha McSally, both running for Arizona Senate.
What I’ll be doing is running a series of issues up the flagpole – for DeSantis, Sinema, and McSally, I’ll be using their Congressional voting records, focusing primarily on the most current Congressional session. Likewise for Bill Nelson, I will be focusing on his Senatorial voting record. For Doug Ducey and Rick Scott, I will be focusing primarily on laws they have signed and policy edicts they have issued. Gillum will likely be the biggest challenge, as Mayor of Tallahassee, he will have the most limited ocean policy record, so I may have to extrapolate based on his Mayoral record, coupling with promises made on the campaign trail.
Full disclosure – I am a Democrat, but I’m going to attempt to boil away as much of biases as humanly possible, and go with the science and consistency (meaning: if candidate X is for small government but mandates a big government policy, you’ll hear about it. Similarly, if a candidate is anti-climate change and then takes money from Big Oil, you’ll hear about that too).
There are some things that are going to be taken as non-negotiable.
1. Climate Change: The science is settled. It is real, it is man-made (anthropogenic), and it is causing problems from coral bleaching and ocean acidification, and a political columnist with no field experience or research work’s opinion does not carry the same weight as a scientist who is doing the work.
2. Biodiversity is critically important: Yes, the desert pupfish and the Lost River sucker are as important as the great white shark and right whale.
3. Plastic pollution must be addressed: This means from your drinking straw to a ghost fishing net. There is no single solution for this non-point pollution problem, and all of us are part of the problem (from the consumer to the producer). No, skipping the straw will not draw Lisa Frank rainbows in the sky over an ocean of jumping dolphins. Unless you need it due to disablity, there’s still no reason why you should be using a straw.
4. The affects of rivers and waterways upstream affect ocean health: This should be a no-brainer, but some people don’t get this.
The rating system will be clear and concise. I’ll introduce it with the first post I do, no later than Saturday morning, and we’ll start off, as is my wont, with shark conservation.
NOTE: THIS IS THE WORK OF A PRIVATE CITIZEN, EXPRESSING OPINIONS GUARANTEED UNDER THE 1ST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. I REPRESENT NO POLITICAL PARTY, POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE, 501(c)3 or 501(c4) CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION, OR COMPANY.