Republicans and Northwest Florida Water – Step II

This article is a follow-up to Republicans and Northwest Florida Water – Part I

Enter Jay Trumbull, Republican candidate for State Representative, District 6.

The Trumbull family has been in the bottled water and water conditioning business for over 4 generations now, and the family owns 7 Culligan dealerships in north Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. The seat Jay Trumbull is running for was previously held by Jimmy Patronis, whose family is partnered with the Trumbull family in a bottled-water company called Econfina that each month produces 60,000 five-gallon bottles of water and 120,000 half-liter bottles of water from Gainer Spring.

While in office as the State representative for District 6, Jimmy Patronis sponsored and fought for passage of HB 703, which prohibits local governments from enforcing certain wetlands, springs or storm water protections – ultimately taking the decision-making powers and control of our local water out of the hands of local governments, and giving the control to politicians in Tallahassee. It also decreases air and water pollution controls to allow for more lenient standards. What this means is that politicians in south and central Florida will have the ability to make decisions about northwest Florida water. This is a sweet deal for those in the bottled water business, or for mining and oil companies that need hundreds of thousands of gallons of water for their mining and fracking operations. This bill also leaves the door open for northwest Florida water to be piped to south and central Florida, and prevents local government from raising objections to the industrial and agricultural run-off that will ultimately result in increased pollution in our rivers, coastal waters, and aquifer.

While Jimmy Patronis is term limited, and can not run for State Representative in this election cycle, it is important to note that many of the same businesses that have contributed to Patronis’s campaign in the past are now contributing to Trumbull’s campaign. In general, voters believe that term limits are a good idea; however, term limits provide a false sense of security to the voting public. Though an individual may be prohibited from holding a public office indefinitely under term limits, corporations can contribute indefinitely to a “line” of candidates that support favorable regulatory changes. This means that it’s more important than ever for voters to do their homework in researching candidates for public office – both past and present – to pick up trails of corporate support between candidates. See the donations from the bottling beverage industry for Patronis, shown below:

500.00 Bear Cindi F (Beverage Distributor) – Pensacola, FL
500.00 Bear David M (Beverage Distribution – Pensacola, FL

500.00 Bear Belle Y (Beverage Distribution) – Gulf Breeze, FL
500.00 Bbear, Jr, Lewis (Beverage Distribution) – Gulf Breeze, FL
500.00 The LewisBear Company (Beverage Distribution) – Pensacola, FL (more than one donation)
500.00 Trumbull Jay (Bottled Water Distribution) Panama City Beach, FL
500.00 Ttrumbull Bottled water, Inc – Panama City, FL
500.00 Culligan Water Solutions – Ft Walton, FL

500.00 Gold Coast Beverage Distributors – Doral, FL (more than one donation)
500.00 MillerCoors, LLC – Milwaukee, WI
500.00 Anheuser Busch (Brewing Co) – St Louis, MS

Patronis also received sizable donations from construction companies, petroleum companies, and developers as far away as California, Texas, Illinois, Virginia, Washington, and Kansas.

A look at the campaign donations to Jay Trumbull show a large number of donations from the same bottled water companies and beverage distributors, with at least one being from out of state. These include:

1,000.00 Trumbull Water Services of NW Florida – Panama City, FL
1,000.00 Culligan Water Solutions – Ft Walton, FL
1,000.00 Trumbull Bottled Water Inc – Panama City, FL

1,000.00 Consolidated Water Group, LLC – Ocala, FL
500.00 Gold Coast Beverage Distributors – Doral, FL
506.70 Emerald Coast Bottling – Panama City, FL
500.00 MillerCoors, LLC – Milwaukee, WI
500.00 Bear, David M. (Beverage Distribution) – Pensacola, FL
1,000.00 The Lewis Bear Company – Ebro, FL
500.00 Gold Coast Beverage Distributors – Doral, FL
500.00 Florida Independent Spirits AS – Tallahassee, FL

Trumbull has also received sizable donations from many of the same construction companies, petroleum companies, and developers from as far away as Nebraska, Pennsylvania, California, and Kansas that Patronis has received donations from. The amount of money Trumbull has collected from the beverage industry alone is almost as much as collected by his all competitors combined: Jamie Shepard ($10,152), Jerry Wyche ($300), and Henry Lawrence ($1,230).

Though they should be representing the best interests of the people of Bay County, Trumbull and Patronis have both taken donations in the maximum amount allowable under the law from interests not only outside of Bay County, but from interests located outside of Florida. The amount Trumbull has received to date (29, August 2014) from out of state corporate interests has far surpassed the combined amount of donations for the other three candidates. The citizens of Bay County need to be asking their candidates hard questions about where their candidates are getting their political contributions from, and they need to wonder why companies located thousands of miles from Bay County have an interest in supporting a candidate whose district includes only Bay County. Water bills like HB 703 and H.R 5078 leave our pristine waterways and aquifer unprotected by local government, and up for sale to the highest bidder via Tallahassee. We are at a precarious crossroad in northwest Florida, and the people of Bay County need to ask the citizens of Lake County how the corporate takeover of their fresh water springs has worked out for them.

Water bottling companies understand exactly how valuable clean water is. They take our water, purify it, bottle it, then sell it back to us at greatly inflated prices. Southerland’s bill to take the power to protect our water away from the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers, and hand it not to local government, but to Tallahassee, is going to make potable water a much more valuable commodity in the future. Water profiteers stand to gain the most, and they are actively engaging in the politics that guarantee we will all be paying a premium price for clean water in the future. The choice is ours, we can stop this now with our vote.

For Further Reading

Orlando Sentinel – Emerging water plan muddied by bottled water

Herald Tribune – Environmentalists on edge over regulation bill

Florida Division of Elections Candidate Tracking –

1000 Friends of Florida

Florida spring photo 2011

This image is protected under Creative Commons, and may not be used without permission.

The Green Party of the United States has been actively working to get Citizen’s United repealed. We are forbidden via bylaws from accepting corporate money. This means that when a Green candidate is elected to office we represent you. The Green Party of Bay County, FL is promoting Henry Lawrence for State Representative, District 6. You can read more about Lawrence here, and donate to his campaign here.

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