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Florida mayors to debate moderators: Ask presidential candidates about climate change


Miami is the poster-child city for climate change. And with two presidential debates here this week, some local politicians want to make sure the candidates for the White House get pressed about the issue.

Twenty-one mayors signed letters to debate moderators imploring them to ask about climate change, and offering a few suggestions. 

"It would be unconscionable for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate you will be hosting in the state," write the mayors. Most hail from South Florida, though a handful are from elsewhere in the state.

The letter to moderators of Thursday's Republican debate singles out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: "In particular, Senator Rubio represents this state and should not be allowed to fail to provide, or side step, substantive answers to these questions," the letter says. The Democratic debate will be held Wednesday.

The leading signature on the letter is from Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, a Democrat and former state lawmaker. Most, but not all, of the mayors on the list are Democrats too.

Fifteen of the mayors had sent letters in January to Rubio and then-Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush urging them to meet with local leaders to discuss climate change, after neither candidate made the topic a campaign priority.

The new mayors on the list are Bob Buckhorn of Tampa, Alice Burch of Miami Shores, David Coviello of Biscayne Park, Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee, Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg and Philip Levine of Miami Beach.

Read the letters.