CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - Clearwater's next mayor could be a licensed attorney, a former EPA employee, a sea turtle, or all of the above.
Elizabeth Drayer has officially declared her candidacy in the race for Clearwater mayor and, in case her environmental platform is unclear, she will be dressed as a sea turtle throughout her campaign.
It may seem over-the-top to some, but Elizabeth "Sea Turtle" Drayer, (as her name will appear on the ballot), says that's the point.
If elected, Drayer's top priorities will the environment and protecting sea life.
"It's a way to dramatize to people the problem and a solution," Drayer told FOX 13 News after reluctantly removing her mascot-style costume for an interview.
In Drayer's eyes, the turtle suit is no joke and much more than a costume. She says it's an important symbol for her candidacy and the community she hopes to serve.
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Every move forward in civilization was considered a joke at the beginning," Drayer said.
The mind behind the mask is up to the task. Drayer is a licensed attorney who previously worked for the Environmental Protection Agency. She says her experience makes her a more-than-qualified candidate.
"I want to see 100% renewable energy by 2050. I want to get rid of chemical pesticides on the beach and fertilizers. I want to end development on the beaches," Drayer said.
Drayer wanted her name on the ballot to read 'Sea Turtle,' but the city wouldn't allow it unless she legally changed her name, so they reached a compromise.
"I took their suggestion to put my name on the ballot as Elizabeth "Sea Turtle" Drayer," she said.
Part of Drayer's plan includes animals and the environment having designated human representatives acting solely in their best interests.
"We have to expand the definition of who can hold office and who has legal rights," Drayer said.
In order to get her name on the ballot, Drayer will need to collect at least 250 signatures by mid-November. Clearwater's mayoral race will take place in March 2020.