Chuck O’Neal (D-Apopka) is a proud Democrat, entrepreneur and environmental advocate from Apopka, Florida.
Chuck grew up in Winter Park, Florida attending six years of public school at Brookshire Elementary and six years of private school at Trinity Prep. Chuck then graduated from Duke University with majors in Mathematics and Public Policy. After graduating, he started and managed numerous small businesses including real estate appraising and local television production. Since 1997, Chuck has been the president of a residential investment company that refurbishes older homes and rents them out to people from various backgrounds and walks of life.
1998 was the year that Chuck made the best decision of his life when he married his best friend and partner, Doris Carrero. They currently live in Apopka, near Wekiva Springs State Park.
Chuck has a lifelong attachment to Florida’s natural resources and beauty. While serving as Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and First Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Florida (The League), Chuck used his background in television production to draw media and community attention to Florida’s water and land conservation crisis, as well as assisting in the operations of the League. During this time, he organized Speak Up Wekiva, an event that drew 1200 people to Wekiva Springs State Park, to inform the public about factors affecting our water quality and quantity.
Building off his leadership on local and statewide water issues, Chuck wrote an early draft of the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. In addition to leading the League’s participation in Florida’s Water and Land Legacy constitutional amendment (Amendment 1) campaign, Chuck has fought to protect Florida’s springs and aquifers from all sources of pollution. He has worked with hydrologist Todd Kincaid and Spring Ecologist Bob Knight to improve water quality in Florida’s springs and aquifers, and is currently working with Barry Law School’s Environmental and Earth Law Clinic to protect our water supply from exposure to fracking fluids used in oil and gas exploration. Chuck was instrumental in assisting a coalition of environmental organizations with blocking the 2016 Senate Bill 318, which would have expanded fracking statewide and preempted local communities from implementing fracking bans.
Chuck fought to stop the ill-conceived 2015 hunt of the Florida Black Bear by bringing legal action against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. The hunt went ahead and decimated our state’s bear population, which inspired Chuck to author the 2016 Florida Black Bear Habitat Restoration Act.
Most recently, Chuck has been working to ensure that all communities have access to a pristine environment and open space amenities, fighting for environmental justice by standing with communities of color who are too often targeted for the placement of toxic facilities. He is currently working with Orlando’s National Action Network chapter to block a proposed project that would remove wetlands to build an industrial facility.
In 2015, Chuck won the Cox Conserves Hero award as a leading conservation advocate in Central Florida. The League of Women Voters of Florida Education Fund was awarded $10,000 in his honor from the Cox Foundation and the Trust for Public Land.
His experience as a small business owner, residential property manager and environmental advocate has informed Chuck of the many policy and fiscal challenges faced by all of Florida. Chuck has worked closely with legislators from both sides of the aisle in Tallahassee including Senator David Simmons (R), former Governor Bob Graham (D), former Senator Lee Constantine (R) and Senator Darren Soto (D) to ensure our community, and the entire state, is a place where all Floridians can flourish and enjoy an optimal quality of life for generations to come. He believes that the decisions we make today will determine the outcomes of tomorrow, or as he puts it, “Florida’s Future Starts Today.”