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.”