Capt. Steve Friedman seeks water district seat - A man playing a video game - Public Relations
Capt. Steve Friedman has submitted a letter of interest for a seat on the South Florida Water Management District board. JIM McCARTHY/Keys Weekly

Per the request of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the South Florida Water Management District is close to a clean slate, with more resignations coming in the last week. Two members haven’t submitted their resignations, but their terms end in March. 

With seats now open, many are beginning to submit letters of interest to the governor. The board hasn’t had a voice from the Keys for some time. But that just might change, with a familiar Upper Keys name submitting a letter of intent to be on the board. 

During a recent village council meeting, longtime resident Van Cadenhead took to the microphone to voice support for Capt. Steve Friedman, Keys resident of 18 years and commodore of the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association. Friedman, who ran for state representative last year, has submitted his letter of interest to the governor’s office for a seat on the board. Former Monroe County Commissioner George Neugent has also submitted a letter. 

“He’s very well familiar with the problem every bit as much as Neugent does,” Cadenhead said. “If we could have two people up there out of nine, because they’re at-large positions, I think our voice would be heard here. … We really vitally need that because I think the contract they signed with Big Sugar at the last minute was entirely wrong.”

Councilman Mike Forster noted that Friedman’s very involved in water quality issues. Forster applauded Friedman for throwing his name into the mix. Council agreed to submit a letter of support for Friedman. 

“For somebody to want to be on this board and drive to West Palm and not get paid, it’s really not a stepping stone to anything except taking care of his own backyard and taking care of us,” he said. 

Friedman thanked the council for supporting him, adding that it’s important the board have representatives from Monroe County. 

“Obviously, I feel very strongly that (it would help) to have a fishing guide who makes his living on the water be represented up there, as would someone with prior political experience such as George,” Friedman said. 

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