Written by Ali Schmitz. April 20, 2018.
As Florida gubernatorial primaries ramp up, candidates are making an issue of campaign contributions from the sugar industry.
Both parties' members have accepted them for decades, and critics say that's led to sugar interests having too much influence over lawmakers, especially U.S. Sugar Corp. of Clewiston and Florida Crystals Corp. of West Palm Beach.
Farms south of Lake Okeechobee block the natural flow of excess water south to the Everglades, so the Army Corps of Engineers discharges it east to the St. Lucie River and west to the Caloosahatchee River. The freshwater harms the salty St. Lucie.
The sugar industry says farmers clean their water as much as possible, create jobs in the impoverished Glades and supply the U.S. with needed food.
TCPalm, which analyzed each candidate's campaign finance reports and stances on sugar, found one accepts the industry's contributions, two haven't said whether they will or won't, and three have renounced them.