Upset that Republican Gov. Rick Scott hasn't personally come to the Treasure Coast to view algae blooms that are plaguing area waterways, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy hand-delivered several bottles full of the toxic green water to Scott's Tallahassee office on Tuesday morning.
Scott himself wasn't there, as he was attending a jobs event in Orange County. His spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said "it's disappointing that (Murphy) has spent more time on a stunt than a solution."
Murphy is a congressman from Jupiter, who represents the Treasure Coast and northern Palm Beach County -- areas affected by the algae blooms. He said he doesn't want to "vilify" anyone or lay blame for the algae crisis, but he criticized the governor at length for not doing more.
"We have repeatedly called on the governor to come down and visit our district to see this first hand, and the governor has refused to see it," Murphy said, while standing in the Florida Capitol rotunda following his 30-second visit to the governor's office. "So, I decided that I wanted to come to Tallahassee and deliver this bottle of toxic algae to the governor to make sure he sees exactly what we're dealing with on a day-to-day basis."
Murphy wants Scott to use Amendment 1 environmental funds "to acquire more land for conservation, for preservation, to do more to send this water south."
"There's so much that needs to be done," Murphy said. "And instead of declaring a state of emergency to actually try to solve a problem, the governor tried to point a finger at the federal government and blame other people."
He continued: "This isn't a problem where you should be pointing fingers and blaming folks. ... The local government, the state government, the federal government all have to come together to solve this problem -- not see how you can score some cheap political points."
Murphy was himself criticized earlier this month over the algae crisis. His congressional office attempted to delay the announcement of aid for small businesses so that Murphy could announce it at a press event he'd planned.
"We wish Congressman Murphy would spend more time in Washington getting Congress and the president to approve funding to repair the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike, which has caused the algae problem in the Treasure Coast," said Schutz, the governor's spokeswoman. "Time and time again, the state continues to show up and put up funding to help with the water quality in this area and we wish Congress and the president would do the same."
Schutz added: "While Governor Scott has dedicated full resources to address this problem and recommended funding in next year’s budget, the federal government has failed to fund over $800 million in Everglades restoration which they are responsible for."
Photo credit: Kristen M. Clark / Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau