In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Sonja Brookins
Office: Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation District Group 4
My background as a science teacher and adjunct professor while working with students and adults in stressing the importance of sustainability as well as the impact of environmental injustices on health. I have utilized scientific advisory skills, research, writing and technology related skills in the medical field. My experience as an Executive Director allowed me to implement and execute partnerships within the community using grants and other resources.
Why should voters vote for you?
Voters should support me because of my transparency and driven approach to getting the job done. I will get my hands in the dirt to bring a change in the narrative for a cleaner and more resourceful environment using best management practices. As a member of the health profession, as well as a retired educator, it was apparent to me that we needed to implement better programs now in order to ensure the health of all of our residents are of the utmost importance.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
My top priorities include safe clean water and environmental justice for all communities, while collaborating with other elected officials to improve communities. We need to advocate for rebates and discounts in inner cities while following best management practices. Marginalized communities have been ignored leading to systemic environmental justice issues, which result in disparate health issues.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
My first key message is to ensure that generational farmers and marginalized communities are afforded resources and PPE (Personal protective equipment) from federal, state and local governmental agencies, while being a voice of change.
My second message is that smaller farms benefit from needed resources while being represented, giving them the same opportunities as larger farms so a merged approach will be utilized, therefore all farmers are represented. There should be low irrigation, protect run-off and low subsistence farming.
My third priority is to ensure that soil is of good quality and we support local growth, source, and supply while increasing small businesses and getting the unemployed involved in environmental careers. Protecting the natural resources for future generations, while bringing more awareness, diversity, and education for this seat. The initiative bill (HR 2066) would authorize the President to re-establish the 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps as a means of providing gainful employment to unemployed and underemployed citizens of the United States through the performance of useful public works, and for other purposes.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
The public policy should reiterate to agencies and the community that this is not a race issue, but a class issue. Marginalized communities’ green space is desperately needed to ensure good water and air quality. Reduce the pollution to promote human welfare and protect natural resources.
What motivates you to run for public office?
Putting people over politics and while helping small businesses and farmers thrive.
What do you believe is the most urgent issue facing the environment and should be done about it?
Communities should have waterways and natural resources that are accessible without pollution. Equality and equity should address all communities for eligibility for more resources to impact their health and environment for their families. Addressing the major problems like lack of climate information, illiteracy, awareness issues, fertilizers, funding, poor agricultural and weather extension services while accessing information are issues that must be changed.