Stuart News: All lagoon committee members have taken Big Sugar money

Each Florida senator tasked with addressing the policies that pollute the Indian River Lagoon has benefitted from Big Sugar donations.

All eight members of a new state Senate panel on the harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges into the lagoon have accepted campaign cash from sugar’s biggest players within their last two elections. Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican who convened and will chair the panel, is the committee’s biggest beneficiary of sugar donations.

Nathaniel Reed, a Jupiter Island resident and Everglades Foundation vice president, said the sugar love shouldn’t come as a surprise. The industry hasn’t sprinkled cash solely to those on the new. Its influence spans the entire statehouse and beyond. “They own the Legislature to the extent that they donate to every single leading member,” Reed said.

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