Newly re-elected State Sen. Wilton Simpson told a gathering of business owners Friday he will spend the next four years pursuing funding for cleaner waterways, better mental health care access and road improvements.
Simpson, R-Trilby, was the guest speaker at Friday’s Citrus County Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Citrus Hills Golf and Country Club.
Simpson, expected to become Senate president in 2020, won re-election Tuesday, easily defeating Democrat Michael Cottrell.
Simpson has supported moving residents from septic tanks to sewer lines, which reduces nutrient leaching into the soil and aquifer.
A new state law went into effect July 1 requiring the installation of nitrogen-reducing septic tanks. While expensive, Simpson expects costs to come down as more companies compete.
The money and effort to rid waterways and springs of damaging Lyngbya won’t amount to much if septic tanks keep leaching harmful nutrients, he said.
Simpson, the Senate majority leader, has been an advocate for greater mental health availability in his district, which includes all of Citrus and Hernando counties and a portion of Pasco.
During his tenure, he helped secure about $1.4 million in the state budget for a nonprofit PACE Center for Girls, an alternative school for at-risk female students in Citrus County that should open in January.
During the meeting, the chamber presented Simpson a $500 donation for the PACE Center.
Simpson said he wants better scrutiny of the state’s foster care program and will work to get children into adopted families.
Simpson reiterated his desire to see the Suncoast Parkway continue northward after it reaches State Road 44, but he has said the exact routes must be studied extensively to get all stakeholders on board.
He is also confident the long-awaited widening of U.S. 41 north out of Inverness will soon get the green light.