Awareness can come at such an early age. You don’t have to be of voting age to be concerned for other people, or for the environment.
Everybody has his or her hot-button topic, and for Steve Edmonds–who is running as a viable NPA option for Florida State House District 28 in Seminole County–it’s all about the H2O. And in Florida? That’s a massive discussion topic for obvious reasons.
Edmonds is fired up … about clean water, and it stems from growing up all around it.
“If I wasn’t in one of the three rivers close to my house, or the ocean … I was within a couple hundred yards of it,” Edmonds told TLI. “That really is without exaggeration.
“It’s something that has always been a part of me and it’s one of the reasons I’m politically active.”
Edmonds was raised in south Florida. He was born in Fort Lauderdale, grew up in the Palm City/Stuart area and his house was close to the St. Lucie River. He became fascinated with the waterways and locks that were only a few hundred yards from his home.
One weekend, Edmonds was camping with his Boy Scout Troop on the other side of the nearby locks. Their task was to cut nature trails for recreational hikers. This was in the 1980s, a bunch of teenagers turned activists working together to help out.
All of a sudden, Edmonds heard a noise that he still compares to a ‘freight train’ in the camp site. The older scouts told him to relax, it was just the locks opening up.
He became aware at a young age how this influx of … ahem … ‘fresh’ water coming from far off Lake Okeechobee would impact his area. Sometimes, he’d catch fish you didn’t normally see in his area. Other times there would be a massive fish kill situation, or maybe freshwater fish in brackish and saltwater crab traps. Without the locks? None of this would happen.
When you have people involved with re-routing nature–both in a literal and metaphorical sense–things quickly spin out of balance. Edmonds wants to be a part of helping change things, raising awareness of what’s going on and who the power brokers are. He is running as an NPA this year, but has Libertarian roots. Libertarians believe the government should get out of the regulation business as much as possible, to stop interfering with the natural course of events.
That goes for the natural course of water and the environment, too.
‘Legacy pollution’ is the root of so many of the problems with Florida’s waterways, as well as the recent algae bloom Floridians have seen on the Atlantic Coast. Legacy pollution is the sedimentary piling on of agricultural runoff, urban and suburban runoff, pesticides, herbicides, you name it. It’s a witch’s brew of goo that has made it into Florida’s waterways and flows into Lake Okeechobee and then is churned up when the lake needs to be flushed. When that sediment gets disturbed, it can kick off algae blooms like the one we have seen this summer–and this summer’s led to a state of emergency.
If you want to see Edmonds’ brows furrowed, his hackles rise and a low growl become audible, mention the current events above. It’s almost as if somebody has messed with his children–it is on that level. That slime is impacting the area he camped near as a kid, and he wants desperately to be a part of the solution. He wants a chance to get up in Tallahassee and state his case and raise the key questions.
Clean water is hardly Edmonds’ only strong position topic, as you can see on the fact page linked here. But his passion for Floridians and for Florida’s environment is clearly evident. He is an activist, not a politician. In 2010 he ran as an NPA for Florida Senate District 24 and received 33 percent of the vote. This is a candidate who not only has an existing support base and a resume, but could win the seat with more support from voters who are tired of the same old goo in Tallahassee.
Here’s the good news, too: Edmonds is a rarity among non-party affiliated candidates. On July 22, the online entity Election 2016 did an online Facebook poll with 500 verified unique IP addresses surveyed. In that polling, incumbent Republican Jason Brodeur received 39 percent of the vote, Edmonds received 35 percent and undecideds were 26 percent. They will be the only two qualified candidates running for the seat.
If you live in the eastern part of Seminole County and want to make a statement with your vote, take a look at Edmonds and decide for yourself if you’d rather have an activist or a politician represent you in the Florida House of Representatives.