Corry Westbrook

Marathon Runner, World Traveler, US Congressional Candidate (FL-8th)

I grew up in Florida surrounded by natural beauty. I swam in lakes with alligators, played in springs with manatees, and sat on the beach watching dolphins swim by. Unfortunately, I also watched unscrupulous developers rush in and destroy that natural beauty with destructive practices—literally paving paradise.

The Endangered Species Act not only saves wildlife, but it is also good for business in Florida.

These experiences fostered in me a great respect for the Endangered Species Act. So much of the wildlife we love has been saved from going extinct through the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The law makes developers stop and consider the impacts of their actions at certain locations. It rarely completely halts development, but it does require developers to take a minute and think about what is at stake; maybe they are in an important habitat for a Florida scrub jay, or a nesting sea turtle, or a Key deer.  Loss of habitat, climate change, and invasive species are taking a dramatic toll on our precious native wildlife, and the Endangered Species Act is what gives the government and ordinary people the ability to hold the line against extinction.

In Florida, the environment is our most important economic driver; it is why so many people visit year after year. The state’s natural beauty is why so many people move to Florida to open businesses and raise families. Hopefully, thanks in large part to the Endangered Species Act, the next generation of Floridians will get to enjoy the same stunning wildlife I did growing up.