As voters in Martin County prepare for the upcoming primary on Aug. 28 and midterm election in November, many have one issue in mind, water quality.
“Vote for clean water. We want to get rid of those releases from the lake," said Michele Robbins, who has lived in the area for decades.
Due to algae sightings over the last couple of months, Robbins said she's afraid to let her dog, Lucy, play in the water at Sandsprit Park at low tide like she normally does.
"You can’t take them out. We don’t trust the water," she said. "We don’t want them to get sick.”
Robbins plans to keep water quality at top of mind when she votes this year.
"We want to vote for people that are for the environment," she said. "Hopefully get things going.”
Evie Flaugh, 18, plans to do the same. She's excited to be able to vote for the first time after spending years being active politically.
"We’ve been really going to rallies and protests and making a difference growing up, but now it’s a different feeling," she said. "It’s more powerful.”
Evie was one of the founding members of River Kidz, which gets local children and teenagers involved in water quality activism.
"We’ve been fighting for this for so long and it’s still such a big part of our community," she said.
A recent poll from Florida Atlantic University found two-thirds of voters are concerned about toxic algae blooms.
“It really impacts people's lives of this community and they have questions," said Alex Gillen, of bullsugar.org. "They want to understand why health and human safety is not prioritized.”
That’s why Bullsugar has met with about 10 candidates on both sides of the aisle to inform them about voters’ concerns.
“Any candidates that want to visit, we’ll sit down when them and go through the issues," Gillen said. "Good politicians want to learn a lot.”