Florida woman running for mayor aims to be sea turtle candidate

Florida woman running for mayor aims to be sea turtle candidate
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A woman running for mayor in Clearwater, Fla., is hoping to put a sea turtle in office.

Elizabeth Drayer, 58, will appear on the ballot in March 2020 to promote animal rights and to be a representative voice for the loggerhead sea turtle species, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

“It sounds wacky,” Drayer told the paper, “but it really isn’t.”

The mayoral candidate told The Hill that she is running to help change the system to preserve nature because she doesn't think the current laws do enough.

"I want to see ecosystems and wildlife get direct representation in government because I don't think the laws that we have now protect nature," she said. 

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The Clearwater city rules say mayoral candidates need to be registered voters in the city. Since a turtle would not qualify for office, Drayer says she is running to be a human voice for the species, according to the newspaper.  

Drayer told the Tampa Bay Times that she wants to extend politics to animals and nature, including giving animals the right to vote and be elected, but through human representatives who would speak in their interest.

“When our country was founded, women and racial minorities did not have the ability to hold office either,” Drayer told the paper.

The candidate planned to run with the name "Sea Turtle" but city rules require her to appear on the ballot with her legal name. Her name will appear as "Elizabeth 'Sea Turtle' Drayer."

Supporting the sea turtles is not her sole platform point. She told the paper that her platform focuses on other environmental issues, including a goal to get the city on renewable energy by 2050.

Drayer will face two other candidates in the election: former City Councilman Bill Jonson and former Mayor Frank Hibbards, the newspaper reported. All three have lived in the city for decades and participated on civic boards.

She will be approaching fundraising a little differently than her opponents, though.

“I’m not going to accept money contributions,” Drayer said. “The sea turtle cannot be bought.”

Updated: 4:49 p.m.