Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Politics

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.

Comments
Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Romano: A pathetic legacy for Florida’s all-or-nothing Democrats

Explain this to me: In the world of partisan politics, how is being an independent thinker a bad thing? When it comes to general elections, we seem to like rogues and mavericks. We want outsiders and swamp scrubbers. Folks appreciate a good finger-...
Published: 05/22/18
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Published: 05/20/18
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Published: 05/20/18
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18