Pratt Boasts Record Helping Disaster-Struck Residents

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY OCT 1, 2018

Editor’s Note: Part 1 of 2 

Tracy Pratt wasn’t going to run for state representative if there was no chance of winning. But the Bradenton attorney feels, this year, Democrats have a real chance of taking the Bradenton-centered district she calls home. “I know I’m the underdog,” Pratt says, “but I've always thought this was a very winnable race.”

Pratt’s now the Democratic candidate running in District 71 against Republican Will Robinson, also a Bradenton attorney. The seat is held now by state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, who is retiring because of term limits.

She felt bolstered by the special election in February in District 72, where Democrat Margaret Good flipped a House seat. It’s not just that the district sits geographically adjacent to 71, but that its demographic make-up so closely resembles its neighbor. In terms of registered voters, both districts are about 42 percent Republican. District 72 is 33 percent Democrat; District 71 is 32 percent Democrat.

And Pratt feels the district also hungers for change, especially as red tide strikes the coastline. Much of the economy depends on beach tourism, and therefore can’t afford Republican policies that put dollars over people’s health, she says. “I fear the Legislature is going to continue to neglect environmental concerns in exchange for extreme deregulation,” Pratt says.

For the record, Robinson, a conservative in most respects, says he wants to hold polluters responsible when it comes to feeding red tide. “It’s not an excuse to me that red tide is naturally occurring,” Robinson says. 

Both candidates want to see improvements in funding for research. Robinson wants improvements in forecasting technology to better predict major algal blooms. Pratt wants a better infrastructure to look at clean-up for disasters and regulations that prevent the pollution that worsens conditions.

Pratt, a Micgigan native of who studied law in Louisiana, helped with legal cases that held BP responsible for damage done to businesses after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She also helped communities struck by Hurricane Katrina.

“I’m extremely familiar with the impact a giant storm or flooding can have,” she says. "It falls on government to make sure communities devastated by disaster, whether natural or man-made, recover to their full strength and capacity as fast as possible."

Robinson says he wants to look at ways changes in septic tank policies can prevent pollution to waterways, and also wants resources that show exactly when industry contributed pollution into the water table so offenders can be held accountable. “We need to get tough on whoever is polluting our waterways, and any resources gained by fining folks can go to red tide,” he says.

Pratt and Robinson face off in the November 6 general election, open to all voters registered in District 71, which includes parts of Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Photo courtesy Pratt campaign: Tracy Pratt speaks to voters.

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