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Madeira candidate calls for leadership

MADEIRA BEACH - For all his 42 years, Robert Spaeth has called Madeira Beach home. Now he wants to be the city's mayor. "I think we need better leadership than we've had out of the current mayor, " Spaeth said.

This is Spaeth's first try for elected office. He is running against two-year incumbent Hugh Lamont and Marvin Frederich. The city election is March 13.

Spaeth said he is concerned about water conservation, maintaining the beaches and controlling redevelopment.

"The government's projections are by the year 2000 ... the equivalent of all the people in the state of Georgia will be dumped in (Florida)," Spaeth said. "We need to be preparing for that kind of thing now."

Spaeth owns a six-vessel fishing fleet and is executive director of the Southern Offshore Fishing Association, an organization that looks out for commercial fishing interests.

Spaeth is vice president of the annual John's Pass Seafood Festival and served on the city beautification committee until he resigned to run for mayor.

He has been involved with beach cleanup efforts, mangrove planting and educating youth about the marine environment. Spaeth served on the board of directors of the Florida Environmental Preservation Association.

In addition, Spaeth said he has served on three advisory panels - regarding reef fish, coral reefs and sharks - for the federal government.

Spaeth and his wife, Debra, have two children.