Gwen Graham to Adam Putnam: 'Defend' Florida oranges - Florida Politics

Gwen Graham to Adam Putnam: ‘Defend’ Florida oranges

Steel and citrus brought us to this:

Gwen Graham is calling on Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to defend Florida orange juice if President Donald Trump triggers a trade war with our European allies,” Graham’s campaign said in a Friday email.

Um, what?

Here’s what happened: “News broke this morning that the European Union is considering banning imports of American orange juice if Trump moves forward with plans to start a steel trade war.”

(Not mentioned by the Graham camp: That same story said EU officials also “are considering tariffs on other agricultural products,” including whiskey and dairy, “if Trump follows through with a steel tariff.” That whiskey is considered an “agricultural product” is a story for another day.)

“Orange juice is  … absolutely vital to Florida’s agriculture industry and our state’s economy,” Graham said in a statement. “Adam Putnam needs to put Florida first, pick up the phone, call his friend Donald Trump and defend our state’s jobs.”

If you need your memory jogged, former congresswoman Graham is a Democratic candidate for governor in 2018; Putnam is a Republican candidate.

Putnam campaign spokeswoman Amanda Bevis did not respond to Florida Politics’ request for comment, but told the Tampa Bay Times: “If you can’t grow it, you can’t export it. Even a half day pretending to work in citrus would teach Gwen Graham that the number one issue in Florida citrus is greening, not the EU.”

The state’s citrus industry has been decimated by the citrus greening epidemic. The so-far incurable disease is attacking fruit, causing it to turn green and bitter, and eventually killing the tree.

Meantime, we await defenders for Florida whiskey (yes, it exists) and dairy.

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.
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