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Everglades Trust endorses Bob Buesing in the SD 18 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Attorney and Senate District 18 Democratic candidate Bob Buesing boasts on the campaign trail he is a proud signer of the Now Or Neverglades Declaration, so it’s not exactly a surprise he is receiving the endorsement of the Everglades Trust.

Buesing was one of 18 candidates running in local, state, and federal races in Florida next month who received the backing of the Trust Thursday, the first time in their 22-year history the group is making endorsements.

“After years of inaction from political leaders, we decided it’s Now Or Neverglades,” said Everglades Trust Executive Director Kimberly Mitchell. “For the first time, the Trust is publicly endorsing candidates who are willing to put the future of America’s Everglades and the source of drinking water for eight million people ahead of Big Sugar’s political influence and interests.”

To earn the Trust’s endorsement, candidates needed to publicly support the Now Or Neverglades Declaration, including its core premise that “increased storage, treatment and conveyance of water south of Lake Okeechobee is essential to stop the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries and to restore the flow of clean, fresh water to Everglades National Park, Florida Bay, and the Florida Keys.”

The declaration also includes supporting using Amendment 1 and other funds to identify and secure land south the lake without delay.

“With leadership from Senate President-designate Joe Negron and others, the upcoming legislative session will bring about meaningful change to save Florida’s Everglades and water supply,” said Mitchell. “We believe it is critical that elected officials with political will are recognized and supported in the electoral process, as well as the upcoming legislative session.”

Negron was one of five Republicans who earned backing from the Everglades Trust. In addition, the foundation is backing nine Democrats (including Patrick Murphy for Senate) and four non-party-affiliated candidates (including three who are running for the Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Negron announced in August he was putting forth a plan to buy 60,000 acres of sugar land south of Lake Okeechobee to build a reservoir to hold 120 billion gallons of lake water — providing a relief valve for what’s discharged east to the St. Lucie River and west to the Caloosahatchee River. It would cost $2.4 billion in all for purchase of the land and construction. Proceeds would come from Amendment 1, the 2014 constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2014.

The initiative required that 33 percent of the proceeds from an existing real-estate tax, known as documentary stamps, go for land and water maintenance and acquisition across Florida. A coalition of environmentalists went to court last year against the Legislature, contending more than $200 million had been diverted from conservation purposes to agency staffing and operational expenses.

A judge in Leon County removed part of a lawsuit last December.

Buesing is running against Republican Dana Young in the SD 18 race next month. Independents Joe Redner and Sheldon Upthegrove are also on the ballot.

Here’s the entire list of the endorsed candidates.

For United States Senate

  • Patrick Murphy (D) — on the ballot in all Florida counties

For United States Congress

  • Brian Mast (R) District 18 — on the ballot in St. Lucie, Martin, and parts of Palm Beach County

For Florida State Senate

  • Joe Negron (R) District 25 — on the ballot in parts of St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties

  • Bob Buesing (D) District 18 — on the ballot in parts of Hillsborough County

  • Anitere Flores (R) District 39 —on the ballot in Monroe and parts of Miami-Dade counties

  • Linda Stewart (D) District 13 — on the ballot in parts of Orange County

  • Dean Asher (R) District 13 — on the ballot in parts of Orange County

For Florida House of Representatives

  • Thad Altman (R) District 52 — on the ballot in parts of Brevard County

  • Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich (D) District 103 — on the ballot in parts of Miami-Dade and Broward

  • Ken Keechl (D) District 93 — on the ballot in parts of Broward County

  • Robert Simeone (D) District 85 — on the ballot in parts of Palm Beach County

  • Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) District 49 — on the ballot in parts of Orange County

  • John Scott (D) District 79 — on the ballot in parts of Lee County

  • Charles Messina (NPA) District 76 — on the ballot in parts of Lee County

For Palm Beach County Commission

  • Dave Kerner (D) — Palm Beach County Commission Dist. 3

For Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation District

  • Daniel Sohn (Group 2) — on the ballot throughout Palm Beach County

  • Patricia Edmonson (Group 3) — on the ballot throughout Palm Beach County

  • Rob Long (Group 4) — on the ballot throughout Palm Beach County

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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