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UPDATE: Bear Hunt Opponent Running For Florida Senate

Speak Up Wekiva's Chuck O'Neal/ Courtesy: League of Women Voters
Speak Up Wekiva's Chuck O'Neal/ Courtesy: League of Women Voters

The central Florida activist behind stopping Florida's bear hunt is running for the state Senate.

Chuck O'Neal will run in the newly drawn District 11 representing Orange County west of Interstate 4.

O'Neal and his organization Speak Up Wekiva were the primary plaintiffs in the lawsuit that failed to stop the bear hunt in October.

O'Neal says his Senate run is motivated by lawmakers' inattention to Floridians' demands on issues like the hunt and Amendment 1, which creates a special fund for land preservation.

"What's happened is they've taken that money and moved it over and shifted it around to where there was actually less spending in the first year of Amendment 1 than in the previous year, and that's unacceptable."

Amendment 1 initiates a 20-year land conservation effort. Environmentalists have criticized lawmakers' spending of the funding on existing state programs rather than new land buys.

O'Neal had announced a run for the House but says he'll be more effective in the Senate.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.