FLORIDA | FL-sen

Nelson "Excited" About Gillum's Energy, Less So His Policies

Scott and Nelson will debate Oct. 16 on CNN.

Nia Prater
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Nia Prater
Sept. 12, 2018, 11:05 a.m.

“Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is excited about the energy that Andrew Gillum brings to the Democratic ticket as the party’s nominee for governor. He is less enthusiastic about some of the ideas Gillum ran on to win his primary.” (Tampa Bay Times)

DEBATE. Nelson and Scott will debate Oct. 16 on CNN. Wolf Blitzer will moderate. (release)

JETSETTER. Gov. Rick Scott (R) used his private jet to make a stop on his “Make Washington Work” bus tour Tuesday. “Scott’s campaign said the use of his plane was a must because the governor couldn’t get from an official hearing of the Clemency Board in Tallahassee to the Republican-rich Villages retirement community in time.”

Scott campaign spokesman Chris Hartline: “Clemency is an important duty that the Governor takes very seriously. He took a break from the bus tour today to attend to his official duties and flew to meet the bus in The Villages. ... Governor Scott is able to run an aggressive campaign while continuing to perform his official duties, unlike Bill Nelson who can’t do either.”

“Scott has removed his jet’s tail numbers from public flight-tracking services, making his whereabouts and travel schedule so secret that one advocacy group went to court last week to force him to disclose his itinerary.”

Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin: “He’s a phony political leader on a phony bus tour selling a phony plan for his phony campaign. Everything he does is secretive aimed at shielding or hiding what he’s up to when it comes to public scrutiny.” (Politico)

ROUGH WATERS. Environmentalists believe the issue of algae blooms in Florida waters that are killing local wildlife and keeping away tourists can be tied back to Scott, who is pointing the blame at Nelson.

The problem stems from algae from Lake Okachobee’s freshwater flowing through the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers, continuing onto the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

“When the freshwater algae hits salt water and dies, it releases toxins that make the water poisonous and the air above it painful to breathe. ... The entity in charge of managing those releases is the Army Corps of Engineers — a federal agency and, therefore, the line of attack Scott has chosen to blame the current crisis on Nelson. ... Nelson, with his 18 years in the Senate and 12 years in the House in the ’70s and ’80s, should have forced the Army Corps to stop discharging algae-ridden water into the two rivers, according to Scott’s theory of the case.

But some link the troubles to some of Scott’s policies. “Scott’s administration cut back on monitoring the flows of nutrients into the lake. It ignored scientific studies showing that nitrogen and phosphorous levels in the lake were increasing. It gutted the Department of Environmental Protection and the state’s water management districts that were charged with enforcing water protection laws, resulting in dramatically fewer enforcement actions. It even asked the Environmental Protection Agency for a waiver from federal monitoring entirely."

"Those policies, of course, were hardly a surprise. Scott was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave that favored anti-tax, anti-regulation Republicans, and he took care to nurture those voters. In his first legislative session, Scott not only cut $700 million out of the state’s water management districts, he cut their ability to levy taxes, too, slashing another $1.7 billion over eight years." (HuffPost)

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