by SC Publisher Shannen Hayes
John Henshaw is experienced in environmental and occupational health and safety and managing large organizations and multi-million-dollar budgets. He now wants to bring his skills to the Sanibel City Council. Henshaw is one of six candidates running in the March 2 election for the three open seats.
Henshaw earned a bachelor of science degree in biology and masters of public health degree in both environmental health and occupational health from the University of Michigan. His 45-year career includes almost four years as Secretary of Labor of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), where he gained global experience in environmental stewardship and occupational safety.
“Doing that kind of work is what I’ve done throughout my career,” said Henshaw, who is currently president of John Henshaw & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in environmental and occupational health and safety. “I care about people and the environment.”
It was the devastating red tide event in 2018 that first influenced him to actively fight for better water quality. Henshaw said when it comes to improving the quality of our water, the science needs to be there and the model correct. “We have to make sure we don’t have another 2018,” he said. And he gives “a lot of credit” to the city and council for leading the way and wants to carry on that work.
“We have to improve and not lose sight of this issue,” said Henshaw. He sees the open council seats as an opportunity for him to have a louder voice and be more effective in advocating for better water quality. “I love the environment. It’s one of the reasons I came to Sanibel more than 20 years ago.”
If elected to council, he wants to explore and lead by example on environmental stewardship, such as reducing carbon emissions and increasing the use of solar energy. He also wants to implement environmental stewardship educational programs that inspire visitors to take it back to their communities.
He believes in developing polices and practices that are consistent with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (also known as The Sanibel Plan). He said he is committed to and believes in the plan and the principles behind it.
He also believes in supporting island businesses, which he called “our lifeblood.” Businesses contribute to the city’s revenue through taxes. “We need to make sure we keep them thriving so the city can continue its work and the funds are used properly,” he said. Henshaw added the city needs to continue balancing its budget and not live beyond its means. “I don’t want to pass off liabilities to future generations.”
Henshaw says he has the education and experience to tackle the issues threatening Sanibel and finding solutions to improve our community. He added that he is committed to making a difference and preserving our sanctuary island. “I like making a difference,” he said.