Tuesday, September 25, 2018

NO for Matt Caldwell, Florida Agriculture Commissioner ... by gimleteye

Florida voters should pay attention to the importance of the agriculture commissioner.

During the terms of Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services  assumed more influence and authority as budgets, rules and enforcement by state environmental and planning agencies were slashed.

Eye On Miami published extensively on the current ag commissioner Adam Putnam, who big polluters lined up to be the next Republican governor of Florida, Rick Scott, chosen by special interests to be the next US senator from Florida (to unseat Bill Nelson), and Matt Caldwell, the Republican legislator who is running as the GOP candidate for ag commissioner to replace Putnam.

It is a ladder carefully built by special interests. Each of the Toxic Trio was groomed to move up a rung.

In the recent GOP primary election, Putnam was upset by Congressman Ron DeSantis, who pledged to take no money from Big Sugar but is supported by mega political action committees funded by Big Sugar.

For the general election, "Red Tide Rick" is hobbled by serial algae blooms coating the coasts while championing lower environmental regulations.

In 2012 Caldwell helped run a political hit job against the one Republican elected official, Ray Judah -- then a Lee county commissioner -- willing to challenge Big Sugar.

Judah offered the following recent assessment of Caldwell's record in the State House:

The Miami Herald today published a puff piece on Caldwell. While the Herald did note his connections to Big Sugar, the newspaper let Cadwell slide on bland assurances that he treats Big Sugar just like everybody else.

But Caldwell was a major supporter of the 2017 Everglades Reservoir bill; a Trojan Horse that increases benefits to Big Sugar. At the beginning of the session, Caldwell opposed the bill, but as soon as Sugar inserted its poison pills into the bill, Caldwell was on board.

Poison pill #1: the elimination of eminent domain in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The prohibition occurred at the very moment more than 200 qualified scientists were pleading with the GOP led legislature to increase the extent of storage and treatment marshes to effectively cope with pollution from sugar plantations and Lake Okeechobee.

Matt Caldwell was the de facto House Whip, and all the Herald had to do was dig a little deeper to find out.

If you don't care whether you are sickened by drinking water or rivers where you swim, vote for Matt Caldwell whose main allegiance -- demonstrated over time -- is to Florida's wealthy and secretive polluters.

Otherwise, vote for Nikki Fried, Democrat, who is challenging to lead the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

No comments: