New State Rep. Adam Botana sits down with the Boca Beacon: Water quality is of the utmost importance

November 6, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

BY MARCY SHORTUSE- Adam Botana didn’t necessarily ever have a focus on being a politician, and to this day claims he is not one. However, our water quality issues are one of the primary reasons he decided to run for the open House of Representative seat for District 76. The Republican candidate whose family owns Bay Water Boat Club in Bonita Springs said he is excited to get up to Tallahassee and jump in the mix to stir things up.
Botana’s family owns and operates Bay Water Exclusive Boat Club in Bonita Springs. While his business cards list him as “Head Boat Washer;” he is actually the company’s vice president. Working in that capacity, it is obvious that water quality would play a big role in his daily life. It has become his passion, in fact, so much so that it spurred this “common man” to join the fray and try to make some changes.
“I never thought about running two years ago, but here I am,” Botana said. “But with my family running the boat club, the main thing that got our attention was water quality. I looked at the candidates running in this election and I thought, ‘Oh. Maybe I should throw my hat in the ring.’ So here we go.”
Botana said he got involved in the race after speaking with former governor Rick Scott’s chief of staff, whose parents are in his family’s boat club. 
“They asked if I wanted to get involved in politics, I told them I might,” he said. “I was then appointed to the Boating Advisory Council for the state of Florida. I went to a couple of meetings, then up to Tallahassee, for more meetings. I was kind of surprised by the representatives there, and I realized it was a job I thought I could do well. I went to Washington D.C. with my father and brother on a trip and met with Rep. Ray Rodrigues, then I came home and talked to a couple of people about it. I knocked on 10,237 doors myself – 22,000 all together – and raised $350,000, which I thought was crazy. At my campaign kickoff party I was expecting 50 people. More than 250 people showed up, so I figured I might actually have a shot. I’m just a local business guy, involved in the community and wanting to make some change for the better.”
Botana was thrilled when a federal judge recently ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete a study within a year to see what effects the Lake Okeechobee water releases were having on surrounding waters. The study must look at how managing the lake influences blue-green algae and red tide, and what harm the two algae may cause protected manatees, sea turtles, wood storks and other species. The judge ruled the study should also look at how the lake water damages habitat, including sea grass beds; whether the loss of seagrass harms the animals; and whether the huge releases from the lake – regardless of algae – also harm wildlife.
As a business owner whose livelihood depends on the water, a decision like that could mean a great deal.
“We have a good governor right now who keeps pushing for change, and the Corps is doing a lot better than they used to,” he said. “It’s nice to see that people are taking notice. The Corps still has to do their job, we know that: When the water gets to a certain height they have to let it go, but we’ve made some progress in the last two years. We just have to keep our foot on the gas, and we need to work together. Eight years from now, we’ll still probably have an issue … we just have to keep moving in the right direction, and maintain the natural balance.”
Botana said he’s ready to give South Florida his all, and to try to help make logical and rational decisions in Tallahassee. 
“I’m going to have fun in politics,” he said. “If not, I’ll go back to washing boats.”
State House District 76 covers Bonita Springs, Estero, San Carlos Park, south Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Pine Island, Bokeelia, St. James City and Boca Grande