Karen Greb for Florida House District 34
Together We Can Do This
Get to Know Me
After retiring from a 25-year career in the financial services industry in California, I moved to Stuart, Florida in 2015. While living in Stuart, I became aware of the pollution issues impacting the St. Lucie River, the Indian River Lagoon and the causes of blue green algae blooms. During my many years of living in California, I was a registered Republican, and thought I was a Libertarian, until I moved to Florida and learned first hand what the lack of effectively drafted legislation can do to the environment.
Issues Meets Opportunity
Indian River Lagoon (IRL)
As a Board member of the Indian River Neighborhood Association, member of the Water and Lagoon Committee and having been involved in Florida politics for several years, I was tasked with covering the Environmental bills for the 2022 Legislative Session. Having been a resident of the Indian River Lagoon community for seven years, first in Stuart and now in Sebastian, I am very well aware of the pollution issues our community faces. I have talked to fishermen who fished the Lagoon 50 years ago, and it is heartbreaking to understand the extent of the degradation over that time period. In 2021, we had 1,100 manatees mostly starve to death due to the lack of seagrass. Unfortunately, the manatees are just the canary in the coal mine.
Being a part of the environmental community, I know of many, many extraordinary local efforts going on on behalf of the Lagoon by many organizations and individuals as well as the National Estuary Program overseen by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
So suffice it to say, that I was quite disturbed to observe our elected officials up and down the five-county, 153-mile stretch of the Lagoon vote over and over again on behalf of polluting special interests rather than the Lagoon. There were two exceptions to that voting record that I’m aware of. Fortunately, several of the most egregious bills either died or were vetoed by the Governor after the environmental community rose up and protested.
If elected, I would like to form a bi-partisan IRL Caucus consisting of all legislators on the IRL to come up with a plan that will help move us forward on the path of healing the IRL. This would be done in consultation with Executive Director Dr. Duane DeFreese, of the IRL Council who declares that healing the IRL “is absolutely doable” in his lifetime.
I believe otherwise on environmental issues, that as elected officials , we need to become more aware of and consider the environmental impacts of every decision we make.
Campaign Finance Reform
The IRL issues highlight the fact that if we are to make progress moving forward, we must start addressing the influence that special interest money has over the legislative process in all sectors, not just the environment. It is also a serious threat to our Democracy.
My campaign has accepted no special interest money including dark (non-transparent) or transparent Political Action Committees, nor have I accepted any special interest endorsements. I have only accepted small donations from individuals and limited contributions from party affiliates.
Why Don’t I See Any of Your Yard Signs?
Our campaign has purposely not purchased campaign signs or mailings for environmental reasons. I also think it would be nice not to have to look at political advertising for five straight months, but I have no judgement around what other candidates are doing.
I’ve found that without these expenses, you can run a campaign very inexpensively. If we all did that, not only would it be a level playing field, but it would cut down on all the fund raising efforts that go on. I also don’t believe that candidates should be entitled to make unlimited loans or donations to their campaigns. That is not a level playing field.
Mental Health Issues
I think we’re starting to address the needs in our community with regards to mental health but there’s still much work to be done. The pandemic has exposed and heightened this problem for so many of us - first responders, teachers, students, healthcare workers, people who live alone, all of us to some degree or another.
In general, I’m a believer in ‘Home Rule’ and that local jurisdictions should make the great majority of the decisions that impact their jurisdictions. There will be exceptions however. One exception for me would be banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. This is to address the cruel puppy and kitty mill business that is still prevalent in Florida (Florida is the second largest importer of these animals) despite more than 70 local jurisdictions (Indian River County being one of them) that have passed ordinances banning it. When that many local jurisdictions agree on something, it’s an opportunity to look at whether a state law is appropriate.
Affordable Housing, Housing Insurance, Food Insecurity and Social Justice are also areas that I am passionate about and am continuing to learn more about.
I welcome all inquiries and questions about where I stand on any issue.
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