Bullsugar.org strongly opposes Matt Caldwell’s bid for reelection to the Florida House. We urge voters to support his opponent, John Scott, to represent the 79th district.
Scott is running in part because he’s watched the collapse of the Caloosahatchee ruin Lee County waters and erode the tourist economy, small businesses, and home values - all on Matt Caldwell’s watch, and all as a direct result of Caldwell’s alliance with the sugar industry and other corporate interests that finance him.
First elected in 2010, Caldwell has built a career on representing the interests of some of Florida’s most notorious corporate polluters. Over 90% of his campaign is directly funded by big business and special interests, nearly all of it from outside his district, and he is consistently supportive of or responsible for our most damaging environmental policies. Some of his largest contributors include US Sugar, Florida Crystals, FP&L, Duke Energy, Monsanto, and Mosaic, to name just a few.
Most of these contributions come in the form of “dark money,” routed to his campaign through nondescript PAC’s. Especially troubling is Caldwell’s association with Florida Committee for Conservative Leadership, which distributes money from US Sugar and other corporate donors to candidates - including Caldwell - that protect their interests. The political committee’s ability to bully other candidates and corrupt local politics by funneling corporate money from outside the district is literally poisonous for Florida communities.
Caldwell: Posing as a Conservationist While Gutting Environmental Protections
Over the course of his past six years in office, while characterizing himself as a champion of the environment, Caldwell has been hard at work behind the scenes undermining every environmental protection he can, including voting “YES” for fracking and refusing to sign the Now or Neverglades Declaration. In 2013 Caldwell wrote a bill that marginalized our “Polluter Pays” law, relieving the sugar industry of nearly two billion dollars of Everglades cleanup costs and shifting the expense to Florida taxpayers.
His participation in sham events disguised as “learning” and “policy” discussions is deceptive and dishonest, attempting to draw attention away from his horrific record on water management and the destruction of the Caloosahatchee estuary. The reality is that he is a champion of big business, at great expense to his constituents. The trail of damage that he has left in his wake winds deeply through our once-clear waterways.
Most recently, Caldwell sponsored the 2016 Florida Water Policy Bill, which undermines protections of our waters from the Panhandle to Key West by increasing allowable levels of dozens of toxic chemicals, eliminates clean up deadlines for bodies of water across the state, and allows polluters to “regulate” themselves.
Caldwell received national attention in 2014 as member of a group of Florida politicians that attended a series of lavish hunting trips on US Sugar’s dime at King Ranch in Texas and failed to file disclosures.
In short, there is not a better example of the type of politician that we need to stop allowing into office if we are to have any chance of taking back our waters.