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John Scott challenges Big Sugar supporter Rep. Matt Caldwell in November election

By Staff | May 18, 2016

To the editor:

Great news for all frustrated by the many Florida politicians who are routinely corrupted by Big Sugar. These legislators accept Sugar’s campaign contributions in return for serving the exploitative interests of the agricultural industry, with ruinous consequences to their constituents.

Our first breakthrough is John Scott, Democrat, who has recently announced he is running against Matt Caldwell, Republican, for his seat as State Representative serving District 79, Lee County, in the November 2016 election cycle. His opponent Rep. Caldwell is Poster Boy No. 1 as servant to Big Sugar by legislatively spearheading the passage of the 2016 Water Policy Bill, which effectively undermines water resource protection from Apalachicola Bay to the Florida Keys. The weakening of state water management policy, coupled with refusal by the governor and legislature to use Amendment 1 funds to purchase land south of Lake O. for critical storage, treatment and conveyance of water to the Everglades is a recipe for the disastrous impacts on our waterways we experienced with the overflow from heavy rains this past winter. The black polluted water poured into the Gulf, resulting in harmful red tide blooms and fish kills. It is important to remember these cyclical, destructive rains are as inevitable as Florida hurricanes.

District 79 is located in North Fort Myers and covers Lehigh Acres to Paloma Park. John Scott promises as Representative he will serve the interests of the District 79 citizens, not the agricultural interests of Big Sugar as currently protected and promoted by Rep. Caldwell. Mr. Scott has lived in Fort Myers since 1979, and has a 20-year record of employment in the Information Technology industry.

Although most of us will not be able to vote for Mr. Scott, we can help fund his campaign, which will be open and running shortly. Please note Rep. Caldwell has already obtained $117,800 to fund his re-election, with most of it coming from agricultural interests and lobbying groups, all from outside his district. The constituents of District 79 are very unhappy with Rep. Caldwell’s blatant support of Big Sugar while they must live with the severe consequences of the ever increasing pollution of their precious water resources. This evident displeasure combined with the political demographics of District 79 make John Scott’s run very viable, with Republicans numbering only 34,800 to Democrats 30,200.

Let us hope that John Scott’s campaign will serve as the “tipping point” for a galvanized SW Florida population demanding our representatives be accountable to us, rather than to the corruptible taste of sweet sugar. Then, and only then, will our current elected officials begin to feel the heat and power of wise, responsible voters. These officials will come to understand if they can’t kick their Sugar habit, they will be kicked out of office.

Jill Dillon