With less than two months in office, Governor Ron DeSantis has done more for the environment than Rick Scott accomplished in his entire tenure.
One of the biggest shakeups, which will surely lead to swift policy change, is his appointment of a fresh slate of SFWMD Governing Board members. He has carefully chosen a group of folks who actually care about the environment and the people and economy of South Florida.
It appears a new dawn is breaking over Florida, commanded by a Governor who has a clear agenda in mind. It is safe to say most in this state are welcoming the daybreak.
New SFWMD appointees include Charlette Roman, a retired US Army colonel and a Marco Island resident; Carlos “Charlie” E. Martinez, president of CEM Investments LLC and a member of the Everglades Foundation; Cheryl Anne Meads, an Islamorada Village Council member who worked as a contractor to the US Environmental Protection Agency; and Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch. Also included in the appointments are Chauncey Goss and Ron Bergeron.
Each of these appointees bring their own brand of environmentalism and concern to the table. Carlos Martinez has had a successful Miami career in construction but has been a supporter of the Everglades Foundation for years - recognizing the need to balance progress and conservation.
Cheryl Meads, has been an active hometown politician in Islamorada, Florida but in her “previous life” worked as a contractor to the EPA. She brings with her the unusual status of being a successful whistle-blower; having been awarded $96 million for revealing fraud at GlaxoSmithKline in her past career.
Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch has been a tireless advocate for the environment, is a former mayor and commissioner of the Town of Sewall's Point, Florida. She recently ran (unsuccessfully) for a Martin County commissioner seat, and has been taken part in the Florida Constitution Commission. Amusingly, she has often been accused of being “painfully nice” as she makes her case for a clean and preserved environment.
Ron Bergeron has been a popular and iconic activist in Florida, serving two five year terms on the board of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, owning large tracts of farmland and acting as a voice for conservation and preservation. His appointment is stalled due to a possible conflict of interest identified by the governor’s office.
Each and every candidate brings every Floridian hope for a brighter future.