Election season in full swing
By Neil Fleckenstein, Planning Coordinator
Planning Coordinator Neil Fleckenstein helped coordinate two forums for over 30 candidates for local, state, and congressional offices on August 5 and August 12 in Tallahassee. These forums provided an opportunity for the public to hear candidates respond to questions on a broad range of issues including the environment, land conservation, growth management, and energy policy. The event was structured to comply with all applicable requirements for not-for-profit organizations hosting candidates’ forums.
The forum served several purposes: (1) educating the public; (2) increasing candidates’ awareness of a variety of important issues; (3) providing Tall Timbers’ staff with an opportunity to interact with current and future elected officials; and (4) raising the profile of Tall Timbers as a leading regional player in issues related to conservation, land use, and the environment.
One positive change from years past was the strong support nearly all candidates for the Tallahassee and Leon County Commission gave for not expanding the urban service boundary and for “keeping rural areas rural.” Obviously, nothing is set in stone in terms of candidates’ promises; however, this is the first forum in the last eight years where all county commission candidates supported protecting rural areas and directing growth inside the existing urban services boundary.
State energy policy was another important issue discussed. All of the leading candidates expressed strong opposition to the issue of coal plant construction in Florida. While health issues were often cited as a concern, so were potential impacts to water quality and forest health.
The candidate forums were widely covered in local media and received very high marks from candidates and the public regarding the substantive nature of the events. A final candidates’ forum will be held in October prior to the fall general election.
For additional information, please contact Neil Fleckenstein at 850-893-4153, ext. 335.