Florida’s Formidable Speaker of the House


On environmental issues, Corcoran and his counterpart in the Senate may find difficulty in reconciling their differences. Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart) has proposed a large land buy for water management south of Lake Okeechobee. The land in his sights is largely owned by Big Sugar corporations U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals. Corcoran has not been completely clear on his position on the land purchase but has stated that he would not support bonding for water projects and would be opposed to increasing state debt, two conditions that would likely doom Negron’s proposal in the current budget climate. Negron argues that purchasing the land and converting it to a water reservoir is essential for preventing toxic algal blooms along Florida’s waterways.

Complicating the issue is Big Sugar’s sizable contributions to the GOP and to individual candidates and committees during recent election cycles. Corcoran, though he takes a strong public stand against lobbying and special interests, is no stranger to Big Sugar’s money and perks, and has personally enjoyed U.S. Sugar’s premier King Ranch hunting trips.