The Sierra Club of Florida has endorsed Democratic congressional candidate Sanjay Patel in his race against Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey in Florida’s 8th Congressional District.

The club, which calls itself the nation’s largest and most influential environmental organization, announced the endorsement Thursday, declaring Patel an “environmental champion.”

“We are pleased to announce today that the Sierra Club officially endorses Sanjay Patel for election,” David Harbeitner, Political Committee Chair for Sierra Club Florida, stated in the announcement from the club. “We are confident that he will work to protect Florida families’ health, air and water, and build a clean energy economy that works for Floridians.”

The release cited the administration of Presiden Donald Trump as posing “continued threats to our clean air and water and public lands,” and said, “it is more important than ever to elect environmental champions like Patel. He has been actively engaged in our community, participating in environmental cleanups and knocking on thousands of doors to help understand what is important to citizens in District 8. Not only is he aware of the problems in the Indian River Lagoon, he is prepared to take the actions needed to address the causes of this environmental disaster.”

The club also pledged to lend its volunteers to Patel’s campaign.

CD 8 covers Brevard County, far-east Orange County, and north Indian River County.

“We are deeply grateful to Patel for stepping forward and standing up for what he believes in. For too long our District has been represented in a way that supports short term business profits over the health of our environment and the citizens of this district. Patel not only believes in science, he is ready to strengthen our regulatory bodies and proactively address sea level rise and climate change which are already impacting our local communities, said Jake Zehnder, Political Committee Chair for the Turtle Coast Group of Sierra Club Florida.

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