You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Lake O pollution, Obamacare key issues in Jupiter-Martin district

The race for Florida House District 82 this year pits two women against each other who vied for the spot four years ago: MaryLynn Magar, the Republican incumbent, and Mary W. Higgins, Democratic challenger.

Magar opposes the Affordable Care Act and wants to lure companies to Florida by increasing collaboration between state universities and employers. Lake Okeechobee’s pollution should be addressed by finding water storage and filtration land north of the lake.

Higgins hopes the Legislature will reverse itself and accept the federal money that would come through Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act. “It’s our taxpayers’ money,” she says.

As for attracting companies, they won’t come to the district until the state addresses the blue-green algae crisis aggravated by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. To fix that problem, the state needs to acquire reservoir land south of the lake to create a flow-way into the Everglades, Higgins said. She also supports mandatory criminal background screens for gun purchases, which her opponent does not.

District 82 includes all of Martin County, as well as Tequesta and Jupiter in the northeastern corner of Palm Beach County. With 156,533 residents, the district added nearly 30,000 residents between 2000 and 2010, an increase of more than 23 percent. Its population is about 80 percent white, 13 percent Hispanic and 4 percent black.

Magar said her decision to run four years ago came partly because, “I got sick and tired of seeing my friends’ kids move out of state for good jobs.”

She wants to see Florida universities collaborate more closely with employers, to “expand our economic diversity not just in the service industry but in life sciences, science, aerospace manufacturing.”

The third-biggest state needs to build a top 10 university by acquiring the best professors and scientists, she said. “We need to make sure we have opportunity and that we have something to offer in the way of building a life here.”

She opposes “just writing checks” to lure companies to the state. Rather, she’d push to better fund universities to work with companies. And if a company leaves, she’d like to see the state “hold the assets,” such as a piece of the action of discoveries made with the help of the universities.

A small-business owner opposed to the Affordable Care Act, Magar would push for more health care savings accounts through employers. She also would push for more transparency from hospitals and other health care providers to make sure people about to undergo a medical procedure understand the costs upfront, she said.

By contrast, Higgins said that by accepting millions of dollars in federal tax money to expand Medicaid and accept the Affordable Care Act, 567,000 more Floridians would be insured. She supports the efforts of incoming Senate President Joe Negron — a Republican — to do that. “It is the moral and ethical thing to do.”

She also would work across the aisle and support Negron’s efforts to halt the polluted discharges that are clogging the district’s waterways with toxic blue-green algae. That requires buying land for a reservoir and flow-way south of the big lake, she said.

“In District 82, businesses are not going to come here with the environment the way it is. The algae bloom got international attention this summer. Until we fix that, we can’t do anything else.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

UPDATE: One of three hurt Thursday in Acreage crash has died
UPDATE: One of three hurt Thursday in Acreage crash has died

One of three people hurt Thursday morning in a crash in The Acreage has died, authorities said Monday. Alford Scardina, 34, died Friday, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s update said. About 8:15 a.m. Thursday, Thomas Cifrodella, 36, was headed southbound on Avocado Boulevard in a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt with passenger Angel Digiovanni, 29...
Still no bond for woman police say drove SUV into Palm Springs store
Still no bond for woman police say drove SUV into Palm Springs store

There’s still no bond for a Wellington woman police say drove her SUV into a T-Mobile store in Palm Springs. Shinobia Montoria Wright, 26, was to appear Monday before Palm Beach County Judge Paul A. Damico. But authorities said she still was hospitalized.  Charges against Wright include aggravated battery, battery, burglary, criminal...
Man held in Pennsylvania in fatal Palm Beach County hit and run
Man held in Pennsylvania in fatal Palm Beach County hit and run

Whoever knocked the life out of Chauncey Jevon Williams, as the 38-year-old tried to cross Okeechobee Boulevard on Labor Day weekend, didn’t stop to help, or even see what he’d hit, investigators said. Now, authorities say they’ve tracked down the suspected killer to a Pennsylvania jail. Zane Nathan Smith, 42, is being held without...
Before the swearing-in, a lengthy dress rehearsal
Before the swearing-in, a lengthy dress rehearsal

For a brief moment on Sunday morning, a 53-year-old man named Greg stood on the balcony of the U.S. Capitol, being sworn in as president of the United States of America. Greg's only qualification? He's the same height as Donald Trump (aka the real president-elect). Greg — Sgt. Major Greg Lowery, that is, a performer in the U.S. Army Band &mdash...
Republican states still face big health care costs as Obamacare is unwound
Republican states still face big health care costs as Obamacare is unwound

States that fought and shunned the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, hoping to avoid the cost of covering millions of working-poor families, will be left with substantial growth in the program even after the Republican-led Congress unwinds the law. From Florida and Texas to Georgia and North Carolina, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's...
More Stories