Florida Big Sugar, Politics, and Adam Putnam

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Picture near Sanibel causeway on August 1, 2018 in Sanibel, Florida. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Florida Big Sugar, Politics, and Adam Putnam

The algae bloom that has invaded the west coast of Florida along with the red tide is a political time bomb and fingers are being pointed towards Florida’s Big Sugar companies.

Tens of thousands of fish have died. Manatees, birds, turtles, Goliath groupers, even potentially a whale shark. As a result, political candidates are keeping their distance from the sugar companies, except one: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

Putnam has received $804,000 in direct contributions from Big Sugar and another $7.6 million from PAC’s that receive a majority of their donations from the sugar industry.

Putnam is running for the gubernatorial seat and while expected that the Democrats would blame the sugar companies, so is GOP candidate Ron DeSantis. DeSantis is  endorsed by President Trump and Trump campaigned for DeSantis recently.

The Executive Director of the Everglades Trust, Kim Mitchell, calls Putnam “Pay-to-Play Putnam.”

Putnam has a long history of siding with the Big Sugar Companies, including when Governor Charlie Crist wanted to buy land from U.S. Sugar for restoration of the Everglades, Putnam was opposed to it. Putnam also voted for long term land leases for the Big Sugar companies instead of using the land for restoration of the Everglades.

Putnam has disagreed with Senate President Joe Negron on building a large reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to hold excess water running off into in sensitive estuaries and the reservoir would have used land owned by the sugar companies. Instead, a smaller reservoir was agreed to, but without using any land that belonged to the sugar companies.

A couple of years ago, the Tampa Bay Times discovered that Florida Republican officials were receiving free hunting trips paid for by U.S. Sugar to the King Ranch in Texas.

Putnam was campaigning yesterday in Jacksonville.

Alexander Hernandez, Esq.
Twitter- @mcatty_alex

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