Russo speaks on environment, president


For 17 years, Edward Russo has lived in the Florida Keys, “the most unpretentious place I know.” This from a man who wrote the 2016 book “Donald Trump: An Environmental Hero.” Russo was not afraid to tackle the most polarizing American political figure in recent years. Why? Russo has a deep passion advocating for the environment and is not afraid to talk about what or who he knows. Originally from New Jersey, with a degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, Russo has previously served on an environmental commission and board of health (Chester, N.J.), planning board and co-chaired environmental commission (Bedminster Township, N.J.). Most notably, he serves as an environmental consultant for President Donald Trump.

His recent appointment to the Key West Planning Board by Commissioner Sam Kaufman raised some eyebrows due to his Trump ties, but Russo has a weighty local resume as well. He is on the board of directors for Reef Relief and the Florida Keys Community College Foundation. He is president of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition and serves on the Monroe County Climate Change Advisory Committee. In the end, Russo believes in protecting and building our environmental future; as he says, “The environment is too important to politicize.”

“I think it’s an obligation that everyone give back to our community in some way. – Edward Russo, Key West Planning Board member

  1. Full Name?Worst nickname? Edward R. Russo; never had a nickname.
  2. Do you have a life credo or motto? The 7P principal: prior proper planning precludes piss poor performance.
  3. What is something you never thought would happen in your life and surprisingly changed everything? Falling in love with my wife, Jennifer, and getting married.
  4. What’s one thing you have yet to achieve on your “bucket” list? One thing you did achieve? I’d like to go back and visit my grandparents’ home in Italy. And the one thing I did achieve was enjoying and getting married in the south of France with my wife Jennifer.
  5. You have known and worked with President Donald Trump for 15 years. Is President Trump the same as businessman Trump when it comes to environmental decisions? Yes. He’s all about clean air and clean water. By focusing on cleaning and preserving our air and water, we solve a lot of our environmental challenges and protect the health of our residents.
  6. As a Keys environmentalist and new planning board member, what are your goals? I will respect the history and culture of Key West, and protect and preserve its unique character for future generations.
  7. If you could tell people one thing to do to help save the Keys environment, what would it be? Clean up our polluting landfills.
  8. What motivated you to write about Donald Trump, such a polarizing figure? I wanted to chronicle the facts regarding all of his environmental achievements. Most people have no idea that he has planted millions of dollars of trees, cleaned up landfills, stabilized stream banks, created and expanded important habitats for threatened and endangered species of birds, fish and plants. He did this as a private citizen and without government subsidies. He was the first and largest contributor to our local organizations back in 2010 when we were mobilizing to protect the Florida Keys from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. People should know these things.
  9. What is your nerdiest passion? Birding.
  10. If you were invisible, what would you do in Key West? Play my ukulele at The Green Parrot.
  11. Favorite guilty pleasure? Smoking a great Cuban cigar.
  12. If you could grant Key West one wish? Clean up that damn polluting landfill, quickly.
  13. Do people know you were a finalist in the Hemingway look-alike contest in 2005? Very few, and it was a whole lot of fun.
  14. You have lunch with one famous person; whom would you choose? Bill Gates.

Finish these sentences …

  1. My friends and family would describe me as … a consensus builder, and very passionate about my work and life in general.
  2. My autobiography would be titled … “It’s Not Just a Voyage, It’s the Destination.”
  3. When I go, I will go … fulfilled.

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