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Gwen Graham to Adam Putnam: ‘Defend’ Florida oranges

in 2017/Top Headlines by

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.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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