ELIZABETH “SEA TURTLE” DRAYER
Candidate for Clearwater Mayor
Remember that TV ad where a Native American paddles through a river of trash, a tear staining his cheek? As a child, I saw that ad and said, I want to clean up that river. So I jumped at the chance to study environmental law with one of the pioneers in the field, then worked as a lawyer for the EPA in Washington, DC.
Years later, though, despite good intentions and decades of advocacy, it’s clear current laws won’t halt the planet’s decline. Red tide fouls the beaches, dead whales wash up bloated with plastic, birds and butterfly numbers are plummeting. The planet’s in crisis but government sticks its head in the sand and pursues business as usual. The old way of doing things is failing — we need a new way.
That’s why I’m running for mayor – to give nature a voice in government. A nature guardian leading the city may be a novel idea, but it’s an idea whose time has come. People roll their eyes when I say I won’t accept campaign cash, but turtles and trees don’t write checks, and that’s who I’m working for. I’ll look at the impact of every decision on the air, water, plants and wildlife. I’ll fight to reduce plastics, pesticides, concrete on the beach. I’ll seek out green businesses, plant more native shrubs and trees, and increase renewable energy. These moves make economic sense too – it’s cheaper to prevent pollution that to clean it up.
Some of my proposals are new, like designating one council seat for a guardian of ecosystems, ensuring nature has a permanent voice in city decisions. The plan I’m most jazzed about is an impact fee on new development, to raise funds to buy land the city can turn back to nature– to restore instead of destroy. I love Clearwater, and want to put us on the map – not as a congested, polluted big city, but as a green leader, paving the way to a future where nature wins.
A bit about me: I’m a native of Brooklyn, New York and earned my bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and my law degree from George Washington University. For the last 22 years I’ve lived in Clearwater, raising two daughters with my husband Michael. My legal experience includes work for government, industry and nonprofits. I’ve served on a half dozen city boards and committees, arbitrated disputes between consumers and businesses, helped kids learn to read and raised money for arts education. A lifelong musician, I’ve entertained at nursing homes and community events.Now that I’m retired, I’m eager to focus my energy on making Clearwater the very best it can be.
Elizabeth “Sea Turtle” Drayer