State Sen. Darren Soto has received the endorsement of Ocean Champions in his race for the Democratic nomination in Orlando-based Congressional District 9.

Ocean Champions is an environmental group that focuses on oceans and ocean wildlife, and has designated 68 “champions” in the current Congress.

Soto, D-Orlando, serves on the Florida Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee where he is the Democratic lead on environmental issues for the Senate Democratic Caucus.

He is in a Democratic contest with Susannah Randolph, Dr. Dena Minning, Valleri Crabtree and former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel for the Democratic nomination to seek to succeed U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando.

“He [Soto] has a track record of leadership and success in the Florida Senate on critical ocean issues that are important to the people of Florida and his district,” David Wilmot, president and co-founder of Ocean Champions, stated in a news release issued by Soto’s campaign. “Senator Soto will bring firsthand knowledge of resource conservation, water quality, and wildlife management issues to Congress and work to ensure healthy oceans for the Nation.”

Ocean Champions, founded in 2003, has helped pass legislation to reduce toxic algal blooms and hypoxia, address ocean garbage, and fight “pirate fishing.” They also work to maintain the moratorium on new oil drilling off Florida coasts and participated the effort in holding BP accountable for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“I am honored to work with Ocean Champions to stop oil drilling off Florida’s shores, prevent pollution of our beaches and waterways, and protect our sea life for future generations!” Soto stated in the release.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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