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Joe Gruters sails past the John Ringling Causeway on Sarasota Bay.

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Joe Gruters coasts ahead on water message for first TV ad

He passed legislation last year increasing fines for sewage spills.

Sen. Joe Gruters turns his eyes to the water in his first television ad ahead of the General Election.

The Sarasota Republican is trumpeting passage of legislation increasing fines by at least 50% for sewage spills, including from government-owned utilities.

“Joe Gruters knows what a healthy environment means — for our economy, for our family, for our quality of life,” a narrator says in the ad. “That’s why Joe brought the hammer down on polluters who infect our water with raw sewage.”

That references a bill Gruters sponsored that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in June.

The ad shows Gruters taking his family on a boat and coasting around Sarasota Bay. Besides being an environmental treasure within Senate District 23, it’s a water body suffering from sewage spilled into local waterways from city and county sewage systems.

“There is nothing more important to the future of Florida than our water quality,” Gruters told Florida Politics.

“Water truly is the lifeblood of Florida, and as a fourth-generation Sarasotan and a father of three young children, it has been and will continue to be my priority to protect and improve all of our waterways.”

In a Facebook message, Gruters notes the legislation was the first in 20 years to increase fines for all who “poison our water and pollute our beaches.”

Gruters represents all of Sarasota County and northern Charlotte County, coastal regions that rely heavily on beach tourism and ecotourism, such as fishing and kayaking.

“Joe’s message is simple,” the television ad states. “You poison our water; you better be prepared to pay the price. That’s the Gruters way.”

Notably, Democratic challenger Katherine Norman, a recruit of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida, has focused on water issues in her campaign.

The ad shows the incumbent doesn’t plan to avoid the issue and takes pride in his environmental record. He’s worked with DeSantis to raise water quality as a signature issue for the Republican administration. And Gruters’ legislation is among the environmental accomplishments of the last year focused on prevention instead of restoration.

It marks the first time Gruters has gone on TV this cycle. Also, as the Republican Party of Florida chair, Gruters’ decision to shoot the spot and go on-air demonstrates he isn’t planning to ignore the challenge from Norman.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Written By

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 jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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