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Bob Graham: ‘The state needs to step its game up’ regarding water issues

Former U.S. Senator and Florida Gov. Bob Graham addressed a packed room Tuesday in Jacksonville at the North Florida Land Trust’s annual meeting.

Graham, the keynote speaker at the event, discussed water issues and tenets of effective lobbying.

Water, Graham said, would be a “continuing challenge” for Florida, due to anticipated population growth and development.

Currently, Graham said, one in five acres in Florida are developed.

By 2070, that number will be up to 35 percent.

That development and population growth, said Graham, will tax the St. Johns River, springs, and other tributaries. Impacts will be felt statewide, including the Apalachicola River and the Everglades.

“The state needs to step its game up,” Graham said, and “think 20 to 30 years ahead.”

However, that’s not exactly happening — and Graham dedicated a portion of his remarks to the importance of advocacy.

Graham noted that Florida chiropractors were the most effective at lobbying their issues during his heyday.

They built a personal connection, with chiropractors connecting with legislators in their districts. Typically, they’d call quarterly and would talk about sports and other ephemera when the Legislature was not approaching Session.

Then, just ahead of Session, it would be business.

The personal relationship was important to that approach, and effective.

Graham also urged environmentalists to reach out to younger voters, a growing demographic, and business interests, which are “receptive if approached right.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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