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

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 far more, via far more channels, than the average citizen can even comprehend. And the purpose of the money, of course, is to buy influence, to ensure favorable legislation passes and legislation detrimental to the bottom line doesn’t.

“Big Sugar,” Florida’s powerful sugar industry, is one of the most adroit practitioners of this dark art, but of course, there are others. Utilities like FPL give “generously,” if that’s the right word. Phosphate mining interests lavish donations on “friendly” legislators. Health care interests. Even Disney, it’s recent attempts to drape itself in the mantle of social justice notwithstanding, has given Florida candidates and political action committees million in campaign donations.

Candidates throughout Florida greedily take this cash – and whether they want to admit it or not, that makes them beholden to the contributing industries. That’s why we like to see candidates making this an issue, saying they won’t take money from Big Sugar and similar interests – and making a stink when their opponents do.

That’s a major reason why VoteWater endorses Ken Russell in the Congressional District 27 race. He’s not missed an opportunity to slam Big Sugar, and he’s pointed out that his chief opponent. Sen. Annette Taddeo, has taken sugar money – via her political action committee “Fight Back Florida.”

As first reported by CBS4 host Jim Defede, since early 2021 that committee received:

*$5,000 from Associated Industries of Florida, a PAC heavily funded by the sugar industry;

*$20,000 from the Florida Alliance for Better Government, a PAC which itself has gotten huge contributions from PACs heavily funded by sugar money, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Florida Jobs PAC, which together have contributed $200,000 to the Florida Alliance for Better Government just this year;

There are others, though some of them haven’t given this cycle. The point Defede, and ultimately Russell, made was that indirectly, Taddeo did take money from Big Sugar.

And regrettably in Florida politics, that’s almost never a once-and-done thing.

Russell was also previously involved with the Everglades Trust, and on the campaign trail he has repeatedly stressed environmental issues. His responses to our questionnaire were well-thought out. And, he’s stated that if elected, he will vote against sugar subsidies in the next Farm Bill.

We wished more candidates laid it on the line like Ken Russell. And that’s why he has our endorsement this time around.