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Santa Rosa lawmakers hear from constituents

santa rosa delegation
Courtesy photo
Milton Mayor Heather Lindsay speaks at the Santa Rosa Delegation Meeting.

Two big topics at the Santa Rosa Legislative Delegation meeting were election integrity and water equality.

Rep. Alex Andrade, Sen. Doug Broxson and newly-elected Rep. Joel Rudman heard from residents for over an hour Tuesday evening inside the Gulf Breeze Community Center. During the meeting, constituents shared their comments on priorities for the 2023 legislative session and pushed for local bills and appropriations.

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But it seems the election was still front of mind for several of the residents in attendance.

Sharon, who lives in Gulf Breeze, said she felt certain processes needed “cleansing.”

“A voter comes in and signs and their digital signature looks nothing like the signature on file,” she said. “We have 12,000 registered voters that haven’t voted in 10 to 20 years, but the supervisor isn’t allowed to remove the names from the registration.”

One resident, Diane Warner, a poll worker for the county elections office, proposed an investigation into the county’s election integrity — namely the use of the EViD voting machines.

“(The machines) don’t have transparency,” she said. “We need to go back to old school.”

Warner said she saw “nothing nefarious” in the last election. She suggested Election Day be a holiday to allow more people to vote. She also suggested creating a jury pool to count votes instead of machines.

Gulf Breeze resident, Sandy Dimmick, spoke about her concerns when it comes to the process of write-in candidates saying it disenfranchises Independent or Democrat voters in the county write-in candidates have typically been used to close Republican primaries.

“It’s unpatriotic, it’s un-American, it’s just wrong,” she said. “We are your constituents, too.”

Water quality and land conservation were also topics discussed in the public comments.

Shana Alford of Avalon Aquaculture spoke about providing more funding to testing local waters for fecal matter following the closure of the shellfish harvest area in the East Bay area in August.

“We’d want to test the source of the fecal matter — whether it’s avian or bovine — and hopefully find a solution,” she said. “What we suspect is that it’s human.”

South Santa Rosa residents have shared their opposition to the Santa Rosa County’s commission vote last year to allow clear-cutting in the land development code. Save Our Soundside President Dara Hartigan spoke at last night’s delegation meeting asking lawmakers to direct funding to conversation efforts of wetland areas in Midway. She noted the state’s conservation project, Florida Forever, has not yet named a project in the panhandle area. Since inception of the program in 2001, the state has purchased 897,785 acres of land with approximately $3.3 billion

“We have no meaningful conservation of wetlands in that area,” she said. “We need Florida Forever funds to purchase what little wetlands we have left.”

Jennie joined WUWF in 2018 as digital content producer and reporter.