Mel Martin is the Democrat running for Florida’s Senate District 14. This district represents northern Brevard County and southern Volusia County, from Port Orange to Viera.
She is running first and foremost as an environmentalist. The district she will represent contains much of the Indian River Lagoon. Her district alone contains Mosquito Lagoon, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Canaveral National Seashore.
The Indian River Lagoon is home to thousands of unique species of plants, animals, and birds. It’s a breeding ground for dolphins and manatees, and vital to the regional ecosystem. However, as more humans have settled in Central Florida following the development of the space industry, the lagoon has been threatened. Pollution, stormwater runoff, and human waste have all threatened the water quality of the lagoon, leading to toxic algae blooms and killing wildlife.
Martin grew up in Central Florida. She graduated from the US Naval Academy, then served in the Marine Corps until 2014. She moved back to Brevard County to raise her family, where it became evident that the waterways she grew up with are in danger. She previously served as president of the Brevard Indian River Coalition.
The Indian River Lagoon is not just for plants and animals; it’s also vital to Florida’s economy, driving 10% of Florida’s tourism revenue. Tourists come here to kayak and spot rare birds. The Rick Scott administration rolled back environmental safeguards and cut $700 million from the water management budget. The goal was to improve the economy and stimulate job growth. However, the algae blooms exacerbated by his platform have actually hurt the economy by making Florida’s waterways unsafe for tourists.
The 2018 general election is on Tuesday, November 6th. Early voting begins on October 27th.