NAPLES, Fla. - After Congressman Trey Radel's recent cocaine bust, Southwest Florida Democrats are energized and optimistic about the upcoming 2014 elections. We caught up with several elected officials at the 25th annual Silver Gala Fundraiser to ask what they thought were the most pressing issues this year.
"There's a bill out there to increase the minimum wage, it's incredibly important to the middle class," said State Senator Nan Rich. Rich says perhaps an even bigger issue is oil drilling in Southwest Florida.
"We have enough issues right now about protecting and preserving our water resources, so we don't need to do anything that would jeopardize our water," she said.
Congressional hopeful April Freeman agreed.
"If there's an accident, or we have a spill, it's going to take a long time to clean that up," said Freeman. "We need to stop the drilling... The chemicals that they're using to drill and frack in the same area haven't been tested and it's going to poison our waters."
State Senator Dwight Bullard also agrees.
"People have to argue that drilling shouldn't occur in their backyard, it's problematic," said Bullard. "As people persue the American dream of home ownership, they have a right and responsibility to protect their home."
Senator Bullard also had an opinion about legalizing medical marijuana in Florida.
"The idea that there's been a prohibition on marijuana for this long should be troubling to most," he said. "I'm hoping the voters get an opportunity to vote to make medicinal marijuana alright in Florida."