Danika Fornear challenges Spencer Roach on sunscreen, environmental record
Danika Fornear

Environmental educator has lobbied Legislature on variety of issues.

A long-time environmental educator threw her hat in the ring to challenge Rep. Spencer Roach in District 79.

Danika Fornear, a Lehigh Acres Democrat, became the latest to challenge an incumbent Republican. A single mother and community organizer, she will challenge the freshman lawmaker on a signature sunscreen bill, among other matters.

“He sponsored HB 113, a bill that would prohibit local governments from passing ordinances to ban the sale of cosmetics, which could include things like makeup, shampoos, deodorants or skin moisturizers,” she said.

“The measure was in order to keep Key West from enforcing a ban on sunscreens that contain chemicals believed to be harmful to coral reefs. The fragile Great Florida Reef consists of several hundred miles of living coral, stretching from west of the Florida Keys to our Atlantic coast. As the world’s third largest reef system, it is home to around 500 species of fish and over 1,300 species of plants and animals, and it has been in severe decline.”

Roach said the Key West ban posed a public health risk, exposing beach goers to a greater chance of skin cancer without the science to prove sunblock contributes to reef decline.

Contacted about Fornear’s criticism, he returned a digitally altered picture of a tube of sunscreen with his face on it and the phrase “You got Roached.”

“I look forward to a spirited campaign,” he said.

Fornear has worked for years with the local Democratic Environmental caucus, which hopes to recruit candidates into all 140 state legislative seats on the Florida ballot this year. She has worked closely with John Capece, a scientist who has worked on Democratic causes in Southwest Florida for years.

Fornear has lobbied lawmakers in the past on Everglades restoration, and was in Tallahassee last year for a “preemptive memorial” for the citizen initiative process organized by Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez. Partially hearing impaired, she also supported the Kiwanis Aktion Club during Developmental Disabilities & Transportation Awareness Day.

She’s also written regularly for the Caloosa Belle and Lake Okeechobee News.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]

One comment

  • Ocean Joe

    May 28, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Two Florida Keys municipalities have passed plastic bag bans primarily to protect sea turtles and other marine life. These ordinances cannot be enforced because, like the sunscreen ban, Tallahassee and those who run it are ‘in the bag’ for the lobbyists.

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