Florida’s Party Bosses Have a Choice: Sugar or Water
Quick, name the Florida politicians–Democrat or Republican–whose leadership on clean water policy makes them true champions. To be fair, there are a few legitimate champions in office today. Why aren’t there more?
A recent Politico article describes the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) avoiding some uncomfortable questions after November. Here’s a big one: “Who’s our champion on water issues?”
This doesn’t mean, “Who’s got talking points?” It means, How has party leadership addressed Florida’s water crisis and the political failures that jeopardize human health, the economy, and a National Park?
The answer: Very, very carefully, and without ever, ever mentioning the word “Sugar.”
The problem is, voters noticed. As Floridians learned more about the sugarcane industry’s influence over water management decisions, politicians’ silence spoke volumes about where they stood. When yet another record-setting sugarcane crop came with dead animals lining the beaches and residents unable to breathe near the water, candidates’ sugar addictions turned into voting issues.
Neither party is immune. But the success of high-profile Republicans openly opposing sugar interests–including Governor Ron DeSantis and Congressman Brian Mast–spotlights Democrats’ struggles to do the same. (One exception: Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel Powell seems poised to emerge as a different kind of Florida Democrat, with a sugar-free approach to water management and Everglades restoration.) Mast’s and DeSantis’ actions after getting elected make the point even sharper.
Bullsugar.org is dedicated to stopping the damaging discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and restoring the flow of clean freshwater to Florida Bay. Its voter guide is available at bullsugar.org/vote, and a fact sheet for the legislation to stop harmful discharges is available at bullsugar.org/stopdischarges.