Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bush calls for end of sugar industry price supports, while Rubio backs the program

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a longtime ally of his state's wealthy sugar producers, is parting ways with the industry and calling for an end to government subsidies that have boosted company profits for decades.

The move, a surprise to industry lobbyists, could help the Republican's struggling presidential campaign court conservative activists and competing industries that decry the sugar program as "crony capitalism."

Bush's position, confirmed this week by campaign aides, comes as he retools his operation to focus on early-voting states, including Iowa, where the corn industry is preparing to begin an ad campaign attacking the subsidy. His stance puts him at odds with his in-state presidential rival, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who is being backed by members of the Florida-based Fanjul family, which controls one of the world's biggest sugar empires.

Bush favors "a phase out of the program," spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. She added that Bush "believes we should constantly be moving to reduce government interference and create a level playing field for all commodities on the world market."

Although Bush aides say the governor has held this view for some time, his position caught activists and lobbyists on both sides of the debate off guard.

Bush has been widely viewed as a sugar industry ally. Sugar companies and executives have donated nearly $600,000 to his campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan campaign research organization.

"I had never heard about Bush's opposition before, but it describes a difference with the position of the sugar industry," said Bill O'Conner, a staff member at the Sweetener Users Association, which opposes the sugar subsidy. O'Conner described Bush's stance as "good news."

Phillip Hayes, a spokesman for the American Sugar Alliance, a leading industry group, declined to say whether he was surprised by Bush's position. He said Wednesday morning that the industry is grateful for Bush's past support.

Rubio has said he only supports an end to the sugar program if other countries stop subsidizing their crops.

Bush calls for end of sugar industry price supports, while Rubio backs the program 10/28/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 10:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. What we've learned from the Bucs' and Bills' playoff droughts

    Bucs

    Is it possible for the Buccaneers and Bills to be any farther off the NFL's radar? You get the feeling schedule-makers didn't think twice about putting this one down for 1 p.m. Sunday — the let's-hope-no-one-notices time slot.

    [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Motorcycle driver killed after hitting turning car on Keene Road in Largo

    Accidents

    A motorcycle driver was killed Friday evening when he struck a turning car, Largo police said.

  3. Drive-by shooting near Robles Park injures four people standing outside in crowd

    Crime

    TAMPA — Four people standing in a crowd were hit by bullets during a drive-by shooting near Robles Park in Tampa late Friday, Tampa police said.

  4. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.