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  • Tampa Bay Times: Charlie Crist: $10 million more to fight Red Tide in Florida is just a start
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on May 28, 2019 | Preview rr

    Red Tide is a plague on our environment and economy. It causes eye and respiratory irritation in humans, and, for some vulnerable populations, even worse. It sickens and kills manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and birds. And it leaves our beautiful oceans and waterways discolored and clogged with rotting fish. Despite this being a naturally occurring phenomenon, outbreaks seem to be getting worse. And yet, there is no consensus as to why that’s the case. I grew up on the water — the Gulf of Mexico... Read more

  • Our future depends on American infrastructure built for the people
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on April 29, 2019 | Preview rr

    At what feels like one of the most divisive times in modern politics, the key to building bridges and finding consensus may be actual bridges. Or repairing them, at least. As members of Congress, we each represent different parts of this great country, and while our districts are distinct in many ways, we can all agree on one thing - infrastructure. Our constituents believe it is the duty of our government to prioritize infrastructure investments and protect and maintain this land we call home.... Read more

  • Ex-felons in Florida need their voting rights back
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on February 11, 2018 | Preview rr

    I am a proud Floridian. For far too long, however, our state has had the dubious distinction of being one of only three states that permanently bans non-violent, ex-felons from voting. The disenfranchisement of 1.5 million of our fellow citizens is shameful, a holdover of Jim Crow-era policies that had no place in our democracy more than a century ago — let alone in 2018. And although a recent court ruling found Florida’s system unconstitutional, we still do not have automatic restoration or an ... Read more

  • Protecting Floridians access to medical marijuana issue of compassion
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on January 24, 2018 | Preview rr

    When Floridians went to the polls in 2016, more than just names were on the ballot. Included was Amendment 2, amending our state constitution to legalize medical marijuana. Amendment 2 received the support of 71 percent of voters – surpassing the 60 percent needed for passage. Do you know how hard it is to get more than 70 percent of the people to agree on anything these days? But Floridians understood that medical marijuana is vital to alleviating the pain and suffering caused by serious illnes... Read more

  • We must protect Florida’s future from offshore drilling
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on January 23, 2018 | Preview rr

    I was governor of Florida when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010. Over the next three months, more than 200 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. I remember the tar balls that washed up along Florida’s pristine beaches, the marine life covered in toxic sludge, the near-collapse of our fisheries and tourism industry, and the tragic loss of life aboard the Deepwater Horizon. But most of all, I remember the looks on the faces of my fellow Floridians living through th... Read more

  • Congress should make flood insurance accessible, affordable
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on July 24, 2017 | Preview rr

    Floods can happen anywhere and at any time. The National Flood Insurance Program has provided peace of mind and economic security to millions of American families and property owners for nearly five decades. For many, NFIP is the only choice they have for protection against floods. And our state is the biggest player. We are home to nearly 40 percent of all NFIP policies and paid nearly $1 billion into the program last year. On top of that, we are ground zero for rising sea levels, hurricanes an... Read more

  • Promoting Civility and Practicing the Golden Rule Every Day
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on July 12, 2017 | Preview rr

    Too often, all the American people see of Congress is hyper-partisan bickering on cable TV. What they don’t see when the cameras are turned off? Many of us are friends. The policy disputes? They aren’t personal, even when passionate. We are passionate because we all love our country. We want to serve the people who sent us to Washington to get things done for the American people. And we believe strongly in what we stand for. But we can disagree without being disagreeable. And the way we carry ou... Read more

  • Pinellas Beach Renourishment Ready to Begin, But Homeowners Must Sign Easements First
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on May 30, 2017 | Preview rr

    Pinellas County received good news last week from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — almost $30 million in federal funding is now available to renourish up to 10.5 miles of our beaches. Beach renourishment is critical to protecting our coastline and our economy. We have some of the best beaches in the world, visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, which provide unrivaled recreational opportunities for everyone and important natural habitat and nesting grounds for shorebirds, sea ... Read more

  • Crist: Protect, strengthen Social Security, Medicare
    Posted in Opinion Pieces on March 20, 2017 | Preview rr

    Social Security and Medicare represent America’s promise that after a lifetime of hard work and paying into the system, senior citizens have earned greater financial security in their golden years, free from abject poverty. Likewise, Medicaid is a commitment to the very poor and disabled, that they not be left hopeless and without medical care. My neighbors in Pinellas County, who I am proud to represent, expect that when their leaders give their word, they keep it. Social Security remains stron... Read more

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