According to the Washington Post, Jeb Bush is calling for an end to federal subsidies for the powerful sugar industry.
Florida's sugar producers have long called the shots on host of state and local issues. And few industries have as much political influence in Tallahassee and Washington. Bush has long supported the sugar growers but it appears that may be coming to an end.
Apparently, the Bush campaign feels ticking off Florida sugar growers is a small price to pay to win support among Iowa farmers who have long opposed the sugar subsidies.
From the Washington Post:
Former Florida governor 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, Sen. Marco Rubio (R), 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.”
The sugar program has gained importance for some conservative activists, who consider the sugar debate comparable to the ongoing dispute over funding for the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a cause that has rallied hard-core conservatives and tea party activists.
Read more of the complete story here.