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Gwen Graham announces Apalachicola Bay Restoration Act during workday on the river

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U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham continued her district-focused work in Congress this morning with a visit with the Apalachicola Riverkeepers. The event doubled as an announcement of a new legislative initiative to help save the region’s threatened oyster beds, once known as especially fruitful but lately in evident decline.

The freshman Democrat from Florida’s vexing 2nd Congressional District announced this morning that 20 of her fellow Florida delegation members are joining her in co-sponsoring the Apalachicola Bay Restoration Act, which would compel the Army Corps of Engineers to take water flow to the Apalachicola Bay into account in their water management plans.

“The Apalachicola Bay represents the heart and soul of North Florida. This isn’t just a fight over water – we’re fighting to save a way of life,” Graham said on Tuesday. “This legislation is an important step to restoring fresh water flow and restoring our bay.”

The announcement came amid one of Graham’s famous Workdays, a continuation of a practice started by her father Bob Graham during his 1977 run for governor in which he would visit Florida workers on the job and perform a shift of labor along with them.

“This is what the North Florida Way looks like – Democrats and Republicans working together to save the Apalachicola Bay,” Graham told Tuesday afternoon.

Longtime Riverkeeper Dan Tonsmeire praised Graham in a press conference following the visit.

“Representative Graham has been at work on the Apalachicola since the early days of her campaign and has not slowed down since.  We have a lot to thank her for and here today she has brought us together to further consider the path forward,” said Tonsmeire.

Since entering office in January, Graham has hewed closely to the preferences of her district, which runs along the borders of Alabama and Georgia in the eastern Panhandle.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has made something of a production in naming Graham a top target of their 2016 campaign to keep the U.S. House in GOP control, but reports indicate those efforts have amounted to little progress thus far.

The list of Florida Congressional supporters of Graham’s newly-minted restoration initiative is below, per a Tuesday news release.

Representatives Jeff Miller (FL-01), Ted Yoho (FL-03) ,Corrine Brown (FL-05), Ron DeSantis (FL-06), Alan Grayson (FL-09), Richard Nugent  (FL-11), David Jolly (FL-13), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Dennis Ross (FL-15), Thomas Rooney (FL-17), Patrick Murphy (FL-18), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Ted Deutch (FL-21), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Frederica Wilson (FL-24), Mario Diaz Balart (FL-25), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), and  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27).

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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