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GOP Candidate For State Agriculture Commissioner Matt Caldwell Speaks With CBS4’s Jim DeFede


ALLEGATIONS. NOW TO CAMPAIGN 2018 AND THE RACE FOR FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL COMMISSIONER. TONIGHT WE SIT DOWN WITH MATT CALDWELL, A MEMBER OF THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE. I KNOW IN THIS LEGISLATURE YOU SUPPORTED BUILDING THE RESERVOIR SOUTH OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE FOR THE RUNOFF PURPOSES. YOU ARE ALSO PART OF LEGACY FLORIDA, WHICH SETS ASIDE $200 MILLION PER — MILLION PER YEAR FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. IN 2016 YOU VOTED ON A WATER QUALITY BILL THAT SEEMED TO EASE RESTRICTIONS OF POLLUTERS. YOU ALSO VOTED FOR A HOUSE BILL THAT WOULD’VE ALLOWED FRACKING. THESE SEEM TO BE INCONSISTENT. ON BOTH OF THOSE, IT’S A FAKE TALKING POINTS FROM RADICAL DEMOCRATS TRYING TO ATTACK ME. THE BILL THAT WE PASSED WOULD’VE PUT A MORATORIUM ON NONCONVENTIONAL EXPIRATION AND FRACKING. IT’S FUNDED A RESEARCH PROJECT ON HOW THE IMPACT OF FRACKING WOULD EFFECT OUR GEOLOGY, WHICH IS DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. I AM STUNNED TO THIS DAY THAT THOSE ON THE LEFT REFUSED TO JOIN WITH US AND JOIN IN A BILL THAT WOULD PUT A MORATORIUM ON FRACKING. WOULD YOU SUPPORT A BAN ON FRACKING? AGAIN, I SUPPORTED A MORATORIUM. WE HAVE LINE STONE. THE REST OF THE COUNTRY HAS SHALE. TWO DIFFERENT ROCKS. I DON’T THINK WE SHOULD ALLOW IT UNTIL WE KNOWS WHAT IT WILL MEAN TO LIMESTONE. WE NEED TO FOCUS ON FLORIDA GEOLOGY. THE RESULTS IS WHAT THE LEGISLATURE WOULD’VE TAKEN ACTION ON. ON REGARDING EASING RESTRICTIONS ON POLLUTERS? A FALSE TALKING POINT. PEOPLE TWISTING UP THE REALITY. THE DEPARTMENT OF WATER PROTECTION IS IN CHARGE OF WATER QUALITY THROUGHOUT THE STATE. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT A FARM, THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DEVELOP THE STANDARDS FOR HOW YOU OPERATE THE FARM PRACTICE SO YOU DON’T ADVERSELY AFFECT WATER QUALITY. INSIDE THE CITY, YOU HAVE ENGINEERING STANDARDS ON HOW TO BUILD YOUR WATER PONDS AND CATCH ENVIRONMENTS. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE PUT OUT TO THE EXPERTS. LET ME ASK YOU THIS. THE COMMISSIONER PLAYS A ROLE IN HELPING THIS PROCESS WITH REGARD TO THE FARMING COMMUNITY. YOU BELIEVE THE FARMING COMMUNITY NORTH OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE HAS BEEN A PROBLEM IN TERMS OF POLLUTING THE LAKE? EVERYBODY AS BEEN A PROBLEM IN TERMS OF THE EVERGLADES. NOBODY CAN LIVE WEST OF 95 IF IT WASN’T FOR THE FLOOD CONTROL SYSTEM . IT WAS SIX FEET DEEP IN THE TOWN OF DAVIE. ALL THE OTHER QUESTIONS THAT COME OUT OF THIS HAVE TO BE WRAPPED UP IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE FLOOD CONTROL. SO IS THAT A YES YOU BELIEVE FARMING AS PLAYED A DETRIMENTAL ROLE INTO THE POLLUTANTS GOING INTO LAKE OKEECHOBEE? AND IF YOU AGREE WITH THAT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO CORRECT THAT? ABSOLUTELY, EVERYBODY, FARMING, DEVELOPMENT. WE HAVE CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE TOTALLY. WE DUMP ALL THE WATER WHETHER IT IS FROM DISNEY WORLD OR KISSIMMEE ST. CLOUD, THE TOWNS, EACH ONE OF THEM HAVE TO MEET WATER QUALITY . IT DOESN’T JUST AFFECT FARMERS BUT URBAN AND SUBURBAN DEVELOPMENT. TOGETHER THAT WILL BE THE SOLUTION. YOU’VE ALSO BEEN CRITICIZED FOR TAKING A LARGE AMOUNT OF CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE SUGAR INDUSTRY. I KNOW YOU WERE IDENTIFIED AS ONE WHO WENT TO THE SUGAR HUNTING GROUND RANCH IN TEXAS. ARE YOU TO CLOSE TO TAKE MONEY FROM SUGAR? I TOLD EVERYBODY I WON’T TAKE MONEY FROM STRIP CLUBS OR PORNOGRAPHERS BUT ANYONE ELSE WHO WANTS TO SUPPORT ME, WHEN IT COMES TO CONSERVATION LANDS, I WOULD ARGUE IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS WE’VE DONE MORE AND WILL CONSTRUCT MORE PROJECTS IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS THAN THE PREVIOUS HALF-CENTURY COMBINED. AND I’VE BEEN THE DIRECT LEADER IN THOSE DECISIONS. TRACK WITH REGARD TO MARIJUANA DO YOU AGREE TO A SMOKABLE PROVISION? IF YOU HAVE A DOCTOR SAYING SMOKING A PLAN IS THE WRONG WAY TO DELIVER MEDICINE, THEY SAY YOU CAN’T CONTROL DOSING, AND I WON’T MOVE FORWARD ON IT. SO YOU OPPOSE IT? BASED ON THE FACT OF THE WAY WE ARE TOLD TO DELIVER MEDICINE . YOU VOTED AGAINST THE STONEMAN DOUGLASVILLE. YOU HAVE AN A+ RATING FROM THE NRA. ONE OF THE CRITICISMS OF THE OFFICE WAS CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMITS AND INDIVIDUALS SAID THEY FELT LIKE THEY WERE WORKING FOR THE NRA TO MOVE PERMITS AND THE PROCESS ALONG. YOUR CLOSENESS TO THE AN ARRAY. HOW WOULD YOU BREAK THAT PERCEPTION THAT THE OFFICE IS AN EXTENSION OF THE NRA? OVER AND TIME AGAIN WE HAVE PASSED BILLS WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. I WORK FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ELECT TO ME. THAT’S THE SAME WAY I WOULD OPERATE THIS RESPONSIBILITY. IF PEOPLE ARE NOT DOING THEIR JOB, THEY SHOULD GET FIRED. WE’VE BEEN ASSURED THE PROCESS HAS BEEN REVISED. THERE IS A TWO-MONTH TRANSITION. I WILL LOOK AT THAT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE SAFEGUARDS ARE IN PLACE. WE DON’T WANT WHAT HAPPENED BEFORE TO HAPPEN AGAIN. I’M CONSTANTLY FIGHTING TO MAKE SURE THE GOVERNMENT IS OBEDIENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. THE KEY IS THE PEOPLE . IT DOES NOT BELONG TO POWERFUL LOBBY INTERESTS OR THOSE WHO WANT TO USE IT FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL OUTCOME. TO FIND THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH CALDWELL YOU CAN GO TO

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