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Big Bend Environmental Forum Gives Candidates A Green Grilling

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From the local soil and water conservation district to the U.S. House of Representatives, candidates vowed to protect the environment at a recent forum at Tallahassee City Hall. 

Attending the Big Bend Environmental Forum’s town-hall style event is practically mandatory for anyone who wants to represent Tallahassee -- a liberal, Democratic oasis in conservative North Florida.

For the most part, candidates checked their partisan rhetoric at the door to concentrate instead on nuclear cost recovery, spring protection zones, and canopy roads. But House District 9 candidate Jim Messer insisted it would take a Republican like him to pry tax dollars from a Republican controlled Legislature.

“If we’re going to clean up water in the state of Florida, we’re going to have to have a voice that’s effective in our Legislature.”

Messer is running against Democrat Loranne Ausley, a former legislator. Democrat Al Lawson, a candidate for U.S. House District 5, was the only candidate who attended the forum in his race. Lawson is considered an overwhelming favorite.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.