Sanibel, FL. July 28, 2016. District 27 State Senate candidate Jason Maughan emphasized the importance of community in solving Southwest Florida’s water problems at the Cape Coral Republican Club’s Candidate Information Event on Tuesday night. After becoming a United States citizen in 1993 and earning an international law degree that qualifies him to practice in 36 European countries, Maughan and his wife, Barbara, came back to Sanibel, where he’s been an avid boater, fisherman and the island’s most celebrated real estate attorney (winner of “Best Attorney and Law Firm of Sanibel and Captiva Islands in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011-2015) ever since.
“This country made it possible for me to go to college and law school, and Sanibel and the entire Fort Myers community have embraced me, Babs, and our son, Ronan,” Maughan told the standing-room-only crowd that jammed into the meeting room at Duffy’s restaurant on Cape Coral Parkway. “I consider all of you to be part of our extended family. So when I see those releases from Lake Okeechobee threatening our economy and standard of living, I don’t know any better than to put my law practice on hold, mortgage our house and do what needs to be done to fix the problem once and for all,” said Maughan to thunderous applause.
Maughan minces no words when it comes to Lee County’s water woes. “We have an option to buy land now owned by U.S. Sugar. We have to exercise that option with the Amendment 1 funds approved by 75 percent of Florida voters in 2014. We have to build a reservoir to filter water from Lake Okeechobee. And then we have to send that water south into the Everglades,” Maughan maintains.
The County’s water woes were also hotly debated by the three candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, Chauncey Goss, Daniel Bongino and Francis Rooney, who also participated in the Candidate Information Event. But conspicuously absent from Tuesday night’s forum was incumbent State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, who also failed to attend the Cape Coral Civic Association’s straw poll (won by Maughan) at the Cape Coral Yacht & Racquet Club earlier in the evening.
“It’s like failing to show up for a job interview,” said one attendee of the no-show, who was advertised by the Cape Coral Republican Club as their special guest.
“Ms. Benacquisto did not live here before she became our state senator, doesn’t spend much time among us now, and she won’t remain here if she loses this election,” said Maughan, who, along with Captains for Clean Water, bullsugar.org and the SWFL Clean Water Movement, has heavily criticized Benacquisto for accepting substantial campaign contributions from Big Sugar and other Lake Okeechobee agroindustrial special interests. The SWFL Clean Water Movement is planning a noon rally at Benacquisto’s senate office in downtown Fort Myers on Monday, August 1, to protest her failure to take action on the problem during her four years in office and over her refusal to sign the Now or Neverglades Declaration supporting buying the land from U.S. Sugar that’s needed to send the water from Lake Okeechobee south into the Everglades.
“Think about that for a moment,” said Maughan on Tuesday night. “Interests who are not from here are using our river and our waters as their personal dumping ground, and our own state senator is taking money from the enemy, protecting the enemy and giving cover to the enemy so that they can continue to jeopardize our tourism industry, our economy and our way of life without consequence. That has to stop and it has to stop now. That’s why I am asking for your support and for your vote.”
For more information on Jason Maughan and his positions, please visit http://www.jason4flsenate.com or follow him on Facebook.