Sugar Subsidies

Final tally: Big Sugar spent $3.6 million on state politics in 2023

February 2, 2024

The final numbers are in — and they’re big. In 2023, Big Sugar political spending in Florida totaled over $3.6 million, with the vast majority — $2.9 million — coming from industry giant U.S. Sugar. Florida Crystals chipped in just…

Dirty money alert: Next Florida Senate President gets thousands from Big Sugar

July 18, 2023

Update: Sen. Albritton got even MORE sugar money than we realized! Below, we report on a $25,000 contribution from U.S. Sugar to Florida Sen. Ben Albritton’s campaign committee, Friends of Ben Albritton. The report is true and correct. But the…

How the federal Sugar Program leads to dirtier water

April 6, 2023

If the federal government treated you the way it treats Big Sugar — life would be sweet indeed. Federal policy in the form of the Sugar Program — part of the Farm Bill, which is reauthorized every five or so…

Un-endorsement: Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick said she wouldn’t take sugar money – then did

August 19, 2022

Our survey question to Congressional candidates this cycle was pretty simple: Special interests like Florida’s powerful sugar industry spend lavishly to influence elections, with “Big Sugar,” the phosphate mining industry and big utilities, among others, spending hundreds of millions of…

In U.S. District 27 race, Russell never misses a chance to slam Big Sugar

August 17, 2022

At VoteWater, one of our core issues has always been the corrupting influence of money in politics. Political campaigns require funding, and everyone is entitled to give as they see fit. Yet the reality is, the biggest corporate entities give…

Dear Mike Rowe: Big Sugar’s not so sweet when it comes to Florida’s water – and politics

June 23, 2022

Dear Mike Rowe: First, we’re big fans of your show “How America Works,” and in particular your focus on the men and women in the trenches, rather than the bigwigs in the C-suites. Your recent program, “Behind the Scenes with…

Why we need to end the influence of ‘Big Sugar’

May 13, 2022

Florida Sportsman publisher – and VoteWater Board President – Blair Wickstrom makes the case: In 2020 alone, Florida’s sugar industry — the home of Big Sugar — put at least $11 million into congressional campaign coffers. This happened on both…

Vote as if your water depends on it – because it does

May 11, 2022

This commentary was first published in late April, by Ryan Smart of the Florida Springs Council – no relation to VoteWater Executive Director Gil Smart – as a depressing post-mortem on this year’s legislative session: Going into the 2022 legislative…

DeSantis endorsement of Simpson not a good sign for clean water

April 26, 2022

It looked like there was a real wedge between the two most powerful Republicans in Florida – Gov. Ron DeSantis and current Senate President Wilton Simpson, who’s running for state Agriculture Commissioner. But they’ve kissed and made up. And that…