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U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham in March 2016. Photo by Ryan Ray

Local

Gwen Graham hunts mosquitos, talks Zika on Bay County Workday

U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham isn’t running for re-election in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, but that doesn’t mean the signature Graham family workdays have come to a close.

Amid a major spending fight in Congress over funding to fight the Zika virus, the freshman Democrat from Tallahassee took to the west of her sprawling Panhandle district to combat the deadly disease where it starts: the places mosquitoes lay their eggs.

Graham joined the Bay County Mosquito Control Department on her most recent Workday to join workers searching for and eradicating standing water, and taking samples of mosquito larvae they encountered to see whether the insects are the same type that transmit Zika.

“My workday was about raising awareness around our state and country to what needs to be done now to avoid an epidemic,” said Graham. “Florida’s on the front lines in the fight against Zika. It’s time for Congress to do their job and pass full funding to fight this deadly virus.”

So far none of the 160 occurrences of the virus in Florida have occurred in Bay County, which have primarily been found in Miami-Dade and Broward. The state Department of Health says all incidences so far have been travel-related.

But Bay officials staffing up out of an abundance of caution, hiring more workers to do the sort of shift Graham performed.

Graham is fighting alongside senior members of the Florida congressional delegation Sen. Bill Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio in order to secure more funding to research and prepare for a possible large-scale outbreak of the virus.

“Let’s provide the funding that is going to be so needed,” said Graham. “We don’t have to spend it all, but let’s not be short-sighted. Let’s have the funding available so that if there’s research going on or a mosquito prevention activity that needs to take place, the funding is there.”

“That’s what we need to do — that’s what our job is in Congress,” said Graham.

See a video produced by Graham’s press shop Matt Harringer below:

Written By

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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