Chris King, Democratic candidate for Governor, stated his opposition to Speaker Corcoran’s proposal calling for a ballot measure to end partial public funding for political campaigns:
“Speaker Corcoran recently called for another ballot measure to stop partial public financing of political campaigns. I oppose Corcoran’s proposal because we need to curb the outsized influence of special interests in our politics, and his proposal makes it more likely to do just the opposite. I believe elections should reflect the will of the people, not special interests, which is why I’ve pledged to not accept any campaign contributions from the sugar industry.”
Money is power, and “Big Sugar” has plenty of it. Alan Farago, president of Friends of the Everglades, says “There is simply no way for the environmental community or for the public interest to be adequately represented.” This power goes all the way down to the water management districts: “There is virtually no piece of Everglades restoration that can proceed without the sugar industry’s consent. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that the entire Everglades restoration effort is a workaround of Big Sugar.”
It is a big deal for Chris King to pledge not to accept campaign money from the sugar industry – the sugar industry is one of the biggest special interests in Florida, as more sugar is grown here than anywhere else. It is estimated that Florida sugar growers provide the state with $3.1 billion in economic activity each year, as well as 12,500 jobs. “Historically, big sugar has meant big bucks for politicians running for office,” says University of South Florida political science professor Susan MacManus.