Our waterways are the heart and soul of our community and impact every aspect of our lifestyle and industry. I bring a unique perspective and experience to tackle our water quality and environmental issues. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve expanded such efforts as the Waterway Cleanup that removed millions of pounds of trash from our waterways, worked with multiple agencies and municipalities to dredge and clean the toxically polluted Miami River, protected our marine fisheries while serving three terms as a gubernatorial appointee on the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council and more.
Our City has experienced unprecedented development over the past several years. Unfortunately, this growth has not been implemented in tandem with a comprehensive plan as to how to accelerate the improvement, maintenance and service our roadways, sewer systems, waterways, seawalls, energy and communications grids, fortify for climate sustainability and more. These issues must become our major fiscal priority to prepare for and resolve them in innovative and creative ways by utilizing new technologies, partnerships and diverse resources.
One of the most important responsibilities of City leadership is to ensure that its residents and business owners feel safe in their homes, offices, schools and public spaces. With the record-breaking growth and migration of thousands to our city, supporting our first responders with appropriate funds, staffing and equipment as well as working to create a sustainable plan for future growth.
The rapid surge in home values, significant influx of out of state migration and investors, as well as the unprecedented cost of living increases and inflation we are experiencing, has put massive pressure on our fixed-income residents, low to mid-income families and workforce community to access affordable housing. The crisis is not only creating more homelessness in our community, but is also placing extraordinary pressure on our business owners to attract and retain a solid workforce.
I’ve spent most of the past 35 years supporting, promoting and protecting this fantastic resource that supports the City’s number one employer and economic driver-the boating industry. The industry represents more than 121,000 jobs and a $9.7 billion economic impact. Whether a tourist, boater, industry worker or waterfront property owner-the waterways are a critical part of what makes Fort Lauderdale unique and must become a priority. I will continue to champion and ensure that we remain the Venice of America and the Yachting Capital of the World by focusing on improving our waterway infrastructure as well as ensure reliable accessibility and safe navigation of our waterways.